Transparency in U.S. Science Policy @ ST Global (2011)

Transparency in U.S. Science Policy

Presented at
ST Global: 11th Annual Conference on Science & Technology in Society
Washington, D.C., USA
15 April 2011

1:15 pm
Innovation and Science Policy session

Abstract: Transparency has emerged as a notable issue in public policy, as evidenced by its prominent place in the Obama administration’s actions and rhetoric. A few transparency topics in science policy, such as open access to scholarly journal articles, have received some attention; and a variety of other niche proposals have described themselves as transparency measures. However, there has been little consideration of a broader transparency agenda in science policy. Such a framing might better elucidate the issues and engage new audiences in the discussion.

This paper explores the applicability of a transparency frame to several topics in science policy and ethics, particularly noting open access and related movements. Transparency is distinguished from alternative or complementary frames such as sharing or dissemination. The accountability, efficiency, and participatory purposes of transparency are considered with respect to science policy. The resonance of transparency with scientific norms is discussed. Certain tensions are noted between transparency and other concerns for science policy, such as protection of human subjects. Transparency is proposed as a frame for future research directions and normative discourse.

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