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Surveys of Scientists at Federal Agencies

Federal scientists report significant interference in their work

To help document the level and impact of political interference in science at federal agencies, UCS has conducted a series of surveys of federal agency scientists. In 2009, the results of all previous surveys were compiled into a brochure entitled Voices of Federal Scientists: Americans’ Health and Safety Depends on Independent Science. The compilation includes surveys of scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Division.

Another recent survey explored food safety oversight at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of our work with the federal food safety system. UCS collaborated with the Iowa State University Center for Statistics and Methodology on this survey's method and implementation. The analysis and compilation of survey respondent’s essay responses led to the final report, Driving the Fox from the Henhouse.

Our most recent survey in 2011 assessed interference by special interests at the FDA. The 33-question survey asked many of the same questions as a similar 2006 survey, also conducted by UCS, in which respondents reported significant levels of political interference in their scientific work. Completed by 997 scientists, the survey suggested that agency leaders are helping to boost scientific integrity at the agency, but persistent interference by special interests continues to hinder the agency's ability to use the best available science to protect the public health.

Explore results from all of our surveys; look up examples of manipulation, distortion, and censorship of science at the agencies we surveyed; and learn more about the UCS Scientific Integrity Program by exploring the Related Links.

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