Is Scientific Advocacy Kosher?

When is it OK to advocate in scientific paper? In the discussion section? When the implications of the research are clear? Never?

ScienceInsider reports that the editor of Conservation Biology either asked journal authors to remove “advocacy statements” from the papers before publication, or asked them to label such statements as opinion. No examples of “advocacy statements” were given. The article says that the Society for Conservation Biology’s board of governors was not happy with the editorial nudging, and did not renew the editor’s contract.

However, one member of the Society’s editorial board says in the article that 20 percent of the 60 member editorial board have resigned in protest of the editor’s firing.

Given that the role of advocacy itself is controversial in the field of conservation biology, this issue may be difficult for future editors to side-step.

Read more at ScienceInsider, a news service of AAAS.


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