Ruckelshaus Effect

A. Alan Moghissi, PhD, Michael S. Swetnam, Matthew Amin, Conner McNulty

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2012; 3(1):G6-13

The role of experts in society, from ancient philosophers to contemporary scientific advisors has been debated since antiquity. The founder of the EPA, William Ruckelshaus, argued that the role of scientists in society is to address only scientific issues. This paper provides the seven principles that are the foundation of Ruckelshaus Effect. It also describes direct and indirect consequences of Ruckelshaus Effect including the Evolution of Best Available Science (BAS) and Metrics for Evaluation of Scientific Claims (MESC) derived from it that are based on five principles (open-mindedness, skepticism, universal scientific principles, transparency, and reproducibility) and include three pillars (reliability standardization of science in terms of its maturity, and areas outside the purview of science). This paper also addresses the relationship between the Ruckelshaus Effect, risk analysis (assessment, management and communication), and the evolution of regulatory science as a new scientific discipline.


Key words: Ruckelshaus Effect, Regulatory Science, risk analysis, policy, environment