What is ‘responsible advocacy’ in science? Good advice.

Posted on 14 July 12


Goodwin, Jean. “What Is “Responsible Advocacy” in Science? Good Advice.” In Between Scientists & Citizens:  Proceedings of a Conference at Iowa State University, 1-2 June, 2012, edited by Jean Goodwin. 151-61. Ames, IA: GPSSA, 2012.

Debates over scientists’ appropriate contributions to policy-making are prominent in a variety of natural resources fields. The issue is often presented as one of “responsible advocacy.” But this framing locks us into a paradox: Scientists who advocate aim to be effective in the policy arena, but by advocating lose their credibility. In this preliminary review of the issue, I argue that we can avoid the paradox by acknowledging a wider range of speech acts structuring scientists’ obligations in the policy process. Scientists can advocate–but they can also report, give their assessments, make recommendations, and especially, offer good advice.

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