Joint Societies' Letter to the Trump Administration on Open Science

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Dear President Trump,

The United States has one of the strongest communities of scientists globally. These scientists are committed to gathering and evaluating the evidence needed for informed decision making. Researchers, policy makers, and indeed citizens depend on access to unbiased information to make informed decisions about their lives. This access is fundamental to our democracy.

As scientific societies, we ask that your administration embrace the principles of scientific integrity and openness. Every citizen has the right to make important decisions based on the best available scientific data, results, and conclusions. All scientific data must be made freely accessible to the taxpayers who funded it. On our part, scientists must communicate their results clearly and effectively to all audiences.

In light of these principles, we are greatly concerned by the recent restrictions placed on government scientists, preventing them from publishing their results or speaking with the public, unless approved. Impeding public access to information that taxpayers have funded is damaging to the principles of our democracy and to scientific progress. We hope your administration will send a strong signal that citizens and businesses deserve unfettered access to the best available evidence.

Science does not always bring good news, but armed with the data provided, everybody can become better prepared for the future. We are all better off when we know the foods that best support our health, the management measures that best protect our natural resources, and the energy alternatives and mitigation efforts that best avert future disasters. It should be a priority for your administration to ensure that government supports the research that will inform the decisions that the public and businesses will need to make about their health and environment.

We live in a complex world. The free flow of information and data--always characteristic of the American approach to science--is especially critical heading into the future. We hope that you agree and will commit to open scientific inquiry during your time in office.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kathleen Donohue
President, American Society of Naturalists

Dr. Sally Otto
President, Society for the Study of Evolution

Dr. Luke Harmon
President, Society of Systematic Biologists