A non-profit organization that convenes leaders in the public, private and civic sectors has issued a report prepared by a working group, the Research Integrity Roundtable, to suggest ways to improve the regulatory process, particularly in regard to the selection of panels that review scientific literature and how that literature is reviewed and evaluated. Titled “Improving the Use of Science in Regulatory Decision-Making: Dealing with Conflict of Interest and Bias in Scientific Advisory Panels, and Improving Systematic Scientific Reviews,” the report addresses (i) “How should panels be composed and the qualifications of prospective advisory panelists be vetted?”; (ii) “How should concerns about biases and conflicts of interest of advisory panelists be handled?”; (iii) “Which studies should agencies review when examining the scientific literature related to a regulatory policy issue?”; and (iv) “How should contending views regarding the relevance of particular scientific results to a regulatory issue and the credibility of those results be addressed?”
Roundtable members, who represented their personal views in the dialog that culminated in the report, included individuals affiliated with industry and government as well as advocacy organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Union of Concerned Scientists. An appendix to the report compares the conflict of interest policies of a number of agencies, such as the National Academies, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Food and Drug Administration, and National Institutes of Health. The report also includes references to the systematic review frameworks used by several organizations and agencies, providing guidelines for the use of scientific information and data.