The editors of six major scientific journals have penned a statement criticizing a rule proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency that would limit the type of scientific studies the agency can use to draw up regulations, Science News reports.
Earlier this month, the EPA announced a proposal called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science that would require the agency to only consider research studies that make their raw data publicly available in its public health decision-making. "Good science is science that can be replicated and independently validated, science that can hold up to scrutiny," EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler told a congressional committee in September, according to the New York Times.
Critics of the proposed transparency rule argue that there are instances in which such raw data should not be made publicly available, such as when it includes individuals' health information and would violate their privacy. In their statement, editors from Science, Nature, PLOS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cell, and the Lancet write that while "we support open sharing of research data, but we also recognize the validity of scientific studies that, for confidentiality reasons, cannot indiscriminately share absolutely all data."
Instead, they argue that the best science should be used to make policy decisions. "The most relevant science, vetted through peer review, should inform public policy," they write. "Anything less will harm decision-making that claims to protect our health."