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Advisor Names To Be Released

The names of the members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which is providing advice to the UK government on its coronavirus response, are to be published soon, New Scientist reports.

It previously reported that scientific data and other documents guiding the government response as well as the identities of the SAGE members wouldn't be revealed until the crisis had passed. This plan was criticized by about three dozen researchers in a letter to the Lancet, which called on the government to make this information available to the public.

Last week, the Guardian reported that Dominic Cummings, the chief political advisor to the prime minister, and Ben Warner, a data scientist who worked on the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit campaign, had attended meetings. It in particular reported that they were at a key meeting that took place just before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown. This raised concerns about whether the group was providing impartial advice, the Guardian said.

Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific advisor, has now said the SAGE membership would now be published, though individuals are being given the opportunity to remain anonymous, the Guardian now reports.

"I think any steps to make the SAGE process more transparent are very welcome, if overdue, given that many have been calling for this now for weeks," the University of Sheffield's James Wilsdon tells New Scientist.