Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Symposium on "Sequestered Science"

The Summer 2006 issue of Law & Contemporary Problems is devoted to papers from a symposium on "sequestered science" sponsored by the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (a.k.a. SKAPP). Topics range from protective orders and confidential settlements that restrict disclosure of information bearing on public health, to access to data from the FDA approval process. We haven't read the entire collection yet, but the contributors seem to avoid simplistic, pro-disclosure polemic, in favor of a more measured analysis of the policies implicated when scientific data and information are withheld from public view.

These are important papers on an important subject. The epistemic legitimacy of scientific work is closely tied to prevalent levels of transparency and openness in scientific discourse, which legal and institutional forces can promote or thwart.

For more, see SKAPP's news release.


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Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.