Neutral Source opened for business on the Ides of March 2006.
Our mission is to provide a forum for discussion and debate about the scientific and economic information lurking behind regulatory polices and decisions. Where these policies and regulations are well-grounded in science and economics, we promote them as ideals worthy of emulation throughout public policy. Where they are not, we make evidence of error widely accessible to technical and nontechnical audiences alike.
Scientific and economic information disseminated by federal regulatory agencies is subject to information quality standards issued in 2002 by the Office of Management and Budget. Since then, federal agencies have had a legal obligation to ensure that the information they disseminate is objective and provide administrative means for the public to correct error.In 2005, OMB issued supplementary guidance on peer review intended to reduce the incidence of these errors.
A public policy revolution began in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan issued Executive order 12,291. For the first time, federal regulatory agencies had a legal obligation to use science and economics to inform their decisions. When President Bill Clinton issued Executive order 12,866 in 1993, it proved that the cause of reasoned regulatory decision-making informed by science and economics was a bipartisan goal.
From the outset, regulatory agencies became monopoly providers of the scientific and economic information use to make regulatory decisions. Economics teaches that monopolies are undesirable because they provide too little product, they charge too much for what they produce, and quality suffers because they do not experience the discipline of competition. These lessons are as true for the public sector as they are for any private sector industry, and for this reason the promise of the public policy revolution has not been realized.
The next public policy revolution will inject competition into the supply side of the market for regulatory science and economics, and Neutral Source is its vanguard. Regulatory alternatives will be developed through a competitive democratic process that welcomes instead of discourages stakeholder participation. The effects of these alternatives will be studied and estimated by competing interests, for they have the strongest incentive to discover and expose scientific and economic error and bias.