Leftist scientists advocating secrecy, but they believe in transparency -- for others
By David Abel
The group has been a fierce advocate for transparency, regularly championing investigations that rely on public documents to hold government officials accountable.
But over the past year, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge-based advocacy group that represents thousands of scientists around the country, has campaigned to limit the scrutiny of scientists who work for public universities and agencies through public records requests.
These scientists, the group says, are increasingly being harassed by ideological foes who seek to unearth documents that would derail or sully their work with evidence of bias.
“We don’t want to work in an environment where every keystroke is subject to public records,’’ said Michael Halpern, who oversees strategy at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, founded at MIT in 1969. “We’re trying to protect the deliberative nature of science. . . . Scientists need space to come to new knowledge, and to give critical feedback.”