SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
18 February 2016
Volume 17 Issue 2
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New Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity

Anne Fairbrother, Subcommittee Chair

The global Communications Committee has formed a new ad hoc subcommittee to address how SETAC can ensure that its membership is aware of and adheres to high standards of ethical behavior in scientific conduct and discourse, both written and verbal. SETAC members in all sectors (government, business and academia) conduct science that is frequently used in regulatory and legal decisions that have significant environmental and monetary consequences. Because of the far-reaching impact of the work of SETAC scientists, the work itself and how it is reported should be beyond reproach; it must be as free of bias as possible and based on objective, well-substantiated and replicable scientific methods. 

The subcommittee is charged with reviewing current practices and developing new approaches by which SETAC can:

  1. Ensure scientific objectivity in review, editing and text of all its publications (ET&C, IEAM, SETAC Globe, workshop proceedings and books)
  2. Encourage objectivity in presentations (platform and posters) at SETAC-sponsored meetings and workshops
  3. Provide continuing education to SETAC members about scientific integrity
  4. Join in the global conversation about scientific bias, ethics and transparency.  

The subcommittee will work closely with the SETAC World Council and other committees such as the Publication Advisory Committee, the Global Science Committee, Program Committee and geographic unit governance to address this important issue. 

Recently, in December 2015, several representatives of SETAC participated in a Society for Risk Analysis/SETAC round table on “Scientific Integrity in Publications.” SETAC members Charlie Menzie, Rick Wenning, Bill Goodfellow and Wayne Landis participated along with SRA members. SETAC encourages the appropriate use of science when advocating for or against activities with environmental consequences (Environmental Quality Through Science®).  While how science is used (or abused) when making such decisions is beyond the scope of this subcommittee, one of SETAC’s founding principles is science-based objectivity when solving environmental problems. Participation in this subcommittee is open to all SETAC members. If you are interested in joining the conversation, contact Anne Fairbrother.

Author’s contact information: afairbrother@exponent.com

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