Obfuscating transparency?

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Abstract

Several recent and prominent articles in Science and Nature deliberately mischaracterized the nature of genuine scientific evidence. Those articles take issue with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's recent proposal to structure its policies and rules only from studies with transparently published raw data. The articles claim it is an effort to obfuscate with transparency, by eliminating a host of studies not offering raw data. A remarkable declaration by a Science editorial is that properly trained experts can verify the scientific evidence of studies without access to raw data, We assert the Agency's proposal must be sustained. Transparency in reporting is a fundamental ethical imperative of objective scientific research justifying massive official regulations and policies. Putative hazards bereft of independent scientific evidence will continue to stoke public anxieties, calling for precautionary regulations and policies. These should rely not on spurious science but on transparent tradeoffs between the smallest exposures compatible with utility and with social perceptions of affordable precaution.

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