Archive for the 'Trump war on science' category

The Donald Trump War on Science: Scholarly and Professional Society Statements in Support of Open Science Communications

It's been a very bizarre week for those of us interested in science policy and the interface between government research and the public interest.

To say the least: Trump bans agencies from 'providing updates on social media or to reporters'. Which is, of course, very reminiscent of the Canadian Conservative government under Stephen Harper and how they muzzled government scientists.

Where Canadian scholarly and professional societies weren't really prepared for what happened and took a while to respond, in the US these societies have been quite a bit more pro-active in responding President Trump's attempts to muzzle government scientists. In fact, as soon as Donald Trump was elected we started to see societies releasing extremely cautious statements about their hopes for science under the Trump administration.

With the recent gag orders issued to various agencies like the EPA and the National Parks Service, various societies have responded with public statements.

I've pointed to a bunch of those statements below. I have only concentrated on statements released since inauguration rather than going back to November, December or early January. I have also no doubt missed many statements. Please feel free to include links to statements of either type either in the comments below or to me via email at dupuisj at gmail dot com. As for the societies themselves, please feel free to toot your own horns and let me know about your statements.

I obviously know the library- and science-based societies much better than those associated with other disciplines so would particularly welcome links to statements from a broader range of disciplinary areas.

Update 2017.01.27. Added American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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Friday Fun: National Park Service Temporarily Ordered To Stop Tweeting: Reactions From Wildlife

Jan 27 2017 Published by under friday fun, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

This one from Samantha Bee is so funny, I don't know whether to laugh to cry.

On second thought, mostly cry. Lots and lots of crying. The only thing that will save me is singing a rousing chorus of Bruce Springsteen's Badlands in honour of the crazy wonderful park rangers at Badlands National Park. It's not hard to imagine a recent meeting going down like that famous scene from Casablanca -- "Play La Marseillaise. Play it!"

Anyways, back to Samantha Bee and National Park Service Temporarily Ordered To Stop Tweeting: Reactions From Wildlife.

Rock Squirrel, Zion National Park
“This may just seem like a ​tiny moment in the larger unfurling of Trump’s autocracy, but for those of us who live in the parks — who mate there, who forage for stems there — it is a chilling reminder that no habitat is beyond the reach of a​ determined despot.”

American Alligator, Everglades National Park
“This was a real wake-up call for me. I think we all drift into complacency. We all get so caught up with hunting muskrat and sunning ourselves on logs that we forget that what happens in Washington affects us all, maybe now more than ever.”

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The Trump War on Science: What Can the US Learn From Canada's Experience?

Sarah Boon's post yesterday, The War on Science: Can the US Learn From Canada?, is an excellent answer to a very popular topic on Twitter yesterday. With the Trump government seemingly determined to roll back decades of environmental protections and at the same time make sure no body in government talks about it, everyone wants to know what advice the Canadian science community might have for our cousins to the south.

Read Sarah's post to for an excellent first answer to that question.

In the four days since Trump’s inauguration, however, it has become increasingly clear that Trump is declaring war on science, and that his war will be much more widespread and insidious than we might have expected – and worse than what we saw in Canada. Canadian scientists are working with their American colleagues to archive as much online science data as possible, as there’s a very real threat that it will be removed without a trace. The Trump transition team requested a list of employees in the Energy Department who work on climate change issues – a request which was, thankfully, rejected. Trump has signed an executive order freezing hiring across all government departments, which will impact scientists. He’s also put in place a restrictive communications policy that stops federal employees – including scientists – from even talking to members of Congress (though Badlands National Park went rogue this morning, tweeting climate science facts until they were deleted. Though I have to add – they’ve now created a resistance Twitter account: @altUSNatParkSer!). The EPA has put a freeze on all grants and other funding vehicles, and the CDC has abruptly cancelled a long-planned conference on climate change and human health.

Sarah points to a number of fantastic resources for concrete strategies and actions.

I've begun my own chronology of the anti-science activities of the Trump government, with more updates and posts in the coming days and weeks.

4 responses so far

Around the Web: Saving Government Data from the Trumpocalypse

Jan 21 2017 Published by under climate change, Politics, Trump war on science

While I'm working on a major update to my Documenting the Donald Trump War on Science: Pre-Inauguration Edition and preparing for the first of the post-inauguration posts, I thought I'd whet everyone's appetite with a post celebrating all the various efforts to save environmental, climate and various kinds of scientific and other data from potential loss in the Trump presidential era.

The list only includes one or two items per project. Plus I'm very likely missing some. Please let me know in the comments so I can add ones that are missing.

It's worth noting that libraries and libraries are closely involved in pretty well all the projects mentioned.

I'm also including some projects that are saving data about Donald Trump, his campaign and his presidency.

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative is coordinating many of these events.

Project Archiving Government Information to Protect from Trump Administration


Archived Information About Donald Trump


As mentioned above, please add any projects I've missed in the comments or send to me at dupuisj at gmail dot com.

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Friday Fun: Trump To Require All Science Article Peer Review Reports to End with the Word “Sad!”

Jan 13 2017 Published by under friday fun, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

Or "LOve!" Or "Scooped!"

One word peer review! A game you can play at home!

  • Sad!
  • Love!
  • Changes!
  • Scooped!
  • Redo!
  • Copied!
  • Not!
  • Even!
  • Wrong!
  • Cite!
  • Me!

One word peer review is going to be Huuuuugggggggeeeeee!

Trump To Require Reviewers To End All Reviews With the Word “Sad!”

Washington DC – President-Elect Mr. Donald Trump has tweeted that he will require all reviewers for all journals and grant agencies to end all reviews with the word “Sad!”

Trump tweeted that all reviewers should be required to select the wording for their reviews from an approved list of words.

The approved list of words includes “Stupid”, “Dumb”, “Weak”, “Loser”, “Politically Correct”, “Moron”, “Tough”, “Dangerous”, “Bad”, “Lightweight”, “Amazing”, “Huge”, “Tremendous”, “Terrific” and “Out of Control”.

Read the whole article! It's funny! Add your own one word peer reviews in the comments!

4 responses so far

Friday Freak Out: Dystopian reading for a nervous new year

Somehow I think 2017 is going to be a bit more of a Friday Feak Out year than a Friday Fun year...

And in that spirit, some freak out fiction for your reading list this year. It'll be a great year for novels highlighted how truly awful the world could get if we let it.

For your 2017 reading please, a year of dystopian reading. A dozen suggestions (with a few bonus suggestions) for dystopian reading in the new year, one per month to keep us all grounded in an unforgiving world, but not so much that we'll lose hope. One per month should leave plenty of time for reading comedy!

Of course, in compiling the list below I took advantage of some other who were also thinking along the same dystopian lines...

I've read most of these, mostly quite a while ago. A few others have been widely recommended in the lists I cite above so I'm considering them part of my new year's reading list. I also tried to come up with a few that haven't been widely recommended on other lists. I'm currently re-reading 1984 and may over the course of the year reread one or two others which I haven't read in decades, like The Handmaid's Tale. I've also included a couple of perhaps less strictly dystopian politically-themed novels that seem appropriate for variety's sake.

Enjoy! Freak out!

  1. 1984 by George Orwell (Bonus: Animal Farm)
  2. Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
  3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  4. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  6. The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
  7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Bonus: The MaddAddam Trilogy)
  8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  9. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (Bonus: Parable of the Talents)
  10. The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
  11. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  12. V is for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Bonus political novel: The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon.

What are some dystopian or political novels you would suggest? Or maybe even some comedy for balance?

6 responses so far

Friday Fun: Scooby Doo Team Expose Climate Change Tricksters

Somehow this post from News Biscuit seems even more relevant now than when it was intially published back in August. Of course, we all shudder to think who will be under that ghostly costume, orange hair, Alaska plaid, Brietbart ball cap and all.

Scooby Doo Team Expose Climate Change Tricksters

A two-man, two-woman, one-Great Dane team of young Americans has exposed the belief that the Earth is heading towards widespread famine and ecological disaster, as the work of a scheming fraudster. Team leader Fred explained that they were passing through Central London in their VW camper van when a recent copy of the Daily Express alerted them to a mystery.

Despite increasing talk about global warming, recent winters have often been quite cold. ‘We suspected there might be something odd going on, so we split into two teams,’ Fred told reporters. ‘Me, Daphne and Velma looked in the basement at the Met Office, while Shaggy and Scooby were sent to explore the newsroom of a little-known newspaper called The Guardian which had been publishing some of these made-up stories.’

Read this whole thing and shudder.

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Presentation: The Conservative War on Science: What's a Librarian to Do?

Just a quick post to get a recent set of presentation slides up here on the blog.

Earlier this week a colleague in the Science and Technologies Studies program here at York hosted me in her fourth year undergraduate seminar class. Rather than my accustomed and normal role of librarian (I happen to be the STS liaison librarian at the moment), I was invited to appear as seminar subject. In other words, she wanted me to talk about my long history of science policy advocacy and activism and a little about how I feel about the current Canadian government.

Which I sort of did, I guess. I also ended up talking about how I view activism in an academic research context, which of course, lead me to talk a little about the implications of altmetrics in a "publish or perish" academic environment.

Of course, there's a surprise ending, but I'll leave that to you to discover in the slides. By the way, it might seem that there are a lot of slides, but most of them are really quite brief.


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Documenting the Donald Trump War on Science: Pre-Inauguration Edition

Update 2017.01.31: First post-inauguration chronology post is done, covering the first week of the Trump administration.

From the point of view of someone sitting North of the Canadian/US border, the results of this week's US Federal election are somewhat terrifying. And honestly and truly as a Canadian and a Torontonian, I say this without a bit of smugness. Been there, done that, if not quite on the same scale.

And by done that, I mean that I've often seen my mission to document important stories in the world. In the past, mostly Canadian or mostly in the library world and all basically about science.

This time around, I'm going to start a project about science in the new Donald Trump administration. I believe Trump will be terrible for science, technology, the environment and public health. And I intend to document that here. Of course, Trump won't be terrible for science in exactly the same way that Harper was in Canada. For example, he may not target research funding in the same way. On the other hand, the environment may fare much worse and ultimately muzzling may also prove to be a problem. It's only over the course of the next couple of years that we'll really and truly get a sense of the implications.

But why wait until we see the share of how exactly Trump is bad for science to start keeping track?

I like what David Kipen said today in the LA Times.

If all these experiences have taught me anything, it’s that librarians may be the only first responders holding the line between America and a raging national pandemic of absolutism. More desperately than ever, we need our libraries now, and all three of their traditional pillars: 1) education, 2) good reading and 3) the convivial refuge of a place apart. In other words, libraries may be the last coal we have left to blow on.

First Responder -- Information Division is a role I can live with.

Like Anil Dash says, "Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work."

Don’t waste a single moment listening to the hand-wringing of the pundit class about Why This Happened, or people on TV talking about What This Means. The most important thing is that we focus on the work that needs to be done now. While so many have been doing what it takes to protect the marginalized and to make society more just, we must increase our urgency on those efforts, even while we grieve over this formidable defeat.

It is completely understandable, and completely human, to be depressed, demoralized or overwhelmed by the enormity of this broad embrace of hateful rhetoric and divisive policy. These are battles that have always taken decades to fight, and progress has never been smooth and steady — we’ve always faced devastating setbacks. If you need to take time to mourn, then do. But it’s imperative that we use our anger, our despair, our disbelief to fuel an intense, focused and effective campaign to protect and support the marginalized.

And it has to start now.

My small contribution is focusing on the effects the Trump administration will have on science, technology, the environment and public health. (As with my Canadian project, I consider healthcare funding models outside of my scope.)

So let's get started. I have a few sections to this post. The first will focus on documenting what happened before November 8, 2016. What he said about science and the environment. The second section will focus on commentary in the past few days since the election. The third section will be similar, but focusing on the implications for Canada. The final section will begin documenting actual anti-science actions and policies (yay, we already have a couple!)

Wish me luck. As usual, everyone should feel free to suggest things I've missed, either in the comments or privately at I'm not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I'm picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.


Pre-Election Commentary


Post-Election Commentary


Post-Election Commentary Added November 21, 2016


Post-Election Commentary Related to Implications for Canada


And finally, the beginning of the tally of cuts, etc.


Some Meta-Commentary Related More to Activism than Directly to Science


To repeat. This initial list is quick and very preliminary. Please let me know if there's anything you think I should include, either in the comments or at I'm not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I'm picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.

If I've missed anything or if anything I've included probably shouldn't be included, let me know and I'll take a look and evaluate.

I will be updating this master list as time goes by.


Update 2016.11.21. Quite a bit of commentary added, as well as some general info related to activism and resistance. One incident added, related to Steve Bannon. I'm treading a fine line between "what might happen and it would be bad" and "this is a thing that we know is actually happening." Probably the announcement of the actual cabinet will bring more information on the what the Trump presidency will mean for science, the environment and public health.
Update 2016.12.06. Quite a bit added again, lots of commentary and "meta" items. In particular, as the cabinet and other appointments are fleshed out, there's more to identify as issues.

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