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Ten principles for achieving scientific impact with integrity in policy and management
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  • Ross Thompson,
  • Emily Barbour,
  • Corey Bradshaw,
  • Sue Briggs,
  • Neil Byron,
  • Michael Grace,
  • Barry Hart,
  • Alison King,
  • Gene Likens,
  • Carmel Pollino,
  • Fran Sheldon,
  • Michael Stewardson,
  • Martin Thoms,
  • Robyn Watts,
  • James Webb
Ross Thompson
University of Canberra
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Emily Barbour
CSIRO Land and Water Waite Campus
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Corey Bradshaw
Flinders University
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Sue Briggs
University of Canberra
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Neil Byron
University of Canberra
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Michael Grace
Monash University School of Chemistry
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Barry Hart
Monash University School of Chemistry
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Alison King
La Trobe University - Bundoora Campus
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Gene Likens
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
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Carmel Pollino
CSIRO Land and Water Waite Campus
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Fran Sheldon
Griffith University
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Michael Stewardson
The University of Melbourne Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
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Martin Thoms
The University of New England
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Robyn Watts
Charles Sturt University
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James Webb
University of Melbourne
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Abstract

In the face of mounting environmental problems, it is essential that accurate and timely scientific information is available to inform policy development and guide management. Scientists have specialised knowledge necessary for evidenced-based decision making, but despite extensive literature on the interface between science and policy, there is little guidance on achieving policy relevance while maintaining high standards of scientific integrity. Here, we provide a set of principles for environmental scientists to engage with policy makers and environmental water managers. We propose the adoption of a contemporary pluralistic approach using a diversity of modes of engagement between scientists, policy makers, and managers. We define a set of ‘roles’ for environmental scientists to engage effectively with policy and management, and discuss the advantages and pitfalls of each. We illustrate the breadth of modes of engagement at the science-policy-management interface using an example from Australia’s largest river system, the Murray-Darling Basin. We challenge the anachronistic, yet persistent concept that engaging with industry or government compromises the objectivity of involved scientists. We argue that there are multiple assurance processes in place to protect scientific integrity. Society needs scientists to be actively involved in finding solutions to the many urgent environmental issues we are facing, and if our principles are followed there are opportunities for healthy interaction between science, policy, and management.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

30 May 2021Submitted to River Research and Applications
31 May 2021Assigned to Editor
31 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
31 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 May 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned