Science advice: The good, the bad, the ugly

Most of the last day at the World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary, was dedicated to the issue of how to best give science advice to policymakers. The forum, which ran from 3-8 November, heard that a new era of more formalised science advice is just beginning, and that a new profession is emerging: the official scientific advisor.

But in this world of professionalised and formalised science advice, we need to consider the question of transparency and the quality of advice that is being given. We can do without the kind of science advice that panders to prejudice and political elites. The World Science Forum’s emphasis on professionalising scientific advice made clear that society will be better off if such dangerous, one-sided academic exercises are kept well away from public policy decisions.

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