On March 4, 2014, the scientific journal Nature published an editorial calling upon the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other regulatory agencies to enforce the disclosure of conflicts of interest for private research used in risk assessments. In the editorial, editor-in-chief Philipp Campbell points out that in a 2003 publication David Michaels, then researcher at the George Washington University, U.S. and current director of OSHA criticized that the limited scrutiny applied to private research used for risk assessment undermines law making in the public interest. Now being in the position to affect this procedure, Michaels requested disclosure for research used for the risk assessment of silica dust, a request that was widely opposed. In Nature, Campbell argues that transparency is a central prerequisite “to pre-empt allegations of secrecy and bias” and ensures that no undue influence will be acquired by those stakeholders with the biggest financial power. This is particularly necessary in areas where strong legal standards are needed. Campbell concludes that politicians should not ask why disclosure was requested, but rather why not all governmental agencies are requesting disclosure, a practice well established in the scientific realm.

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Philipp Campbell (2014). “Full disclosure.Nature 507, 8.