U.K. Working on Changes to Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees

Past time to jump across the pond and revisit an old favorite.

Recently the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) has been working with the (U.K.) Government Office for Science on an update to the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees (CoPSAC).  This update process was prompted by the complete disaster of the sacking of David Nutt, then Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).  (While I think the sacking had merit, it was handled horribly by pretty much everyone involved.)

Last September (when I was recovering from an unplanned blogging break), the Office of Science started a consultation on updating the CoPSAC, approximately 2 years ahead of schedule.  The consultation is closed, but the government has yet to publish its official response.

Unfortunately, the consultation questions (especially question one) don’t appear to address one of my main concerns with respect to the CoPSAC and Nutt’s actions that – in my mind – were not as explicitly clear about when Nutt was speaking as an individual scientist and when he was speaking in his professional capacity.  I am concerned that any updates will not make an effort to better draw this line, which I think is insufficiently bright.

I am a fan of question number three: Continue reading