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Is the Government Buying Science or Support?

April 30, 2016

This paper develops a system to determine whether Federal Government is buying the conclusions it wants from scientists, funding scientists who support an expanded regulatory agenda.

Relatively little attention has been given to the potential role of federal funding in fostering research bias. In other words, the question examined in this paper is does government funding skew research in a preferred direction, one that supports an agency's mission or policies that expand its authority or funding? 

Federal agencies spend many billion dollars a year on scientific research. Most of this is directly tied to the funding agency's mission and existing or proposed policies. The issue is whether these financial ties lead to bias in favor of the existing policies, as well as to promoting new policies. Is the government buying science or support?

The authors we make no specific allegations of federal funding induced bias rather they develop a conceptual framework for future research into scientific biases that may be induced by federal funding. 

David Wojick is a former consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science.
Patrick J. Michaels is a Senior Research Fellow for Policy and Economic Development at George Mason University.