As part of its new Center for Science and Democracy, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will hold its first forum series next month. While not yet detailed on its Forum page, the UCS is planning a series of events focused on citizen access to government scientific information. While the email I received (not yet available online) gives examples consistent with the organization’s strong emphasis on environmental concerns, it’s still a little fuzzy on what kinds of access restriction will be addressed.
Put another way, I can’t be sure if the forums are intended to address Canadian-style micromanagement of government scientists, Freedom of Information Act backlogs and stonewalling of scientific information, or a general inaccessibility of environmental information. Those are all interesting challenges to discuss, but with the first event scheduled for September 18, it seems a little late to be cagey on the details. Given the background of the center’s new/first director, I suspect these events will have an environmental focus. Which is fine, but why not be a bit more up-front about it?
This is not the center’s first major set of activities. As I noted in May, there were two launch events in June, which you can review on the center’s website. More forums (perhaps on other topics?) are planned for 2013.