When politics trumps science, we lose
peter.suber's bookmarks 2017-03-19
"While it is illegal to destroy government data, removing data from accessible agency websites can effectively impede accessibility. Revising websites or creating other barriers to the underlying information can make it very difficult to find vital information. Also, much of the scientific information painstakingly collected over past decades, and costing hundreds of billions of dollars, remains held only by the government, and it is distributed through thousands of servers in hundreds of federal departments where it might not be backed up, making it difficult or impossible to find. Once information becomes sequestered, it becomes nearly impossible to know what has been lost if one doesn’t know what originally was there.
Thus, there is growing anxiety developing among many scientists who rely on the vast cache of data housed on government servers that key data may become sequestered or unavailable for public access. Many researchers further fear a crusade by the Trump administration against the scientific information provided to the public; the National Centers for Environmental Information may be one federal agency especially vulnerable to having vital information sequestered or removed from ready access. The proposed deep budget cuts for several government agencies have added to the fears of important databases being selectively reduced or removed...."