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Science, Technology, and Law Panel's Agenda

In establishing the STL Program's future activities, the STL Panel was faced with a wealth of opportunities. The interface of science, technology, and law is complex, with four obvious dimensions:

  • The law itself, including varied legislative, executive, and judicial functions;

  • The substantive areas of science and technology themselves, including physical and mathematical sciences, biological sciences, engineering, medical sciences, behavioral and social sciences, and applied biological and agricultural sciences;

  • The vector of a particular interaction between science and law (whether one is interested in the effect of law on science and technology, or the effect of science and technology on law); and

  • Crosscutting issues (such as intellectual property, access to research data, identification of expert witnesses, ethical responsibilities of professionals, and the economic effects of regulation).

Nearly any aspect of today's science- and technology-dependent society could be examined by the STL Panel. However, to have its greatest impact, the STL Panel will focus its initial activities on two specific areas. At the meeting, the STL Panel formed two working groups that correspond to the topics featured most prominently during its first meeting:



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Page 18 4 Science, Technology, and Law Panel's Agenda In establishing the STL Program's future activities, the STL Panel was faced with a wealth of opportunities. The interface of science, technology, and law is complex, with four obvious dimensions: The law itself, including varied legislative, executive, and judicial functions; The substantive areas of science and technology themselves, including physical and mathematical sciences, biological sciences, engineering, medical sciences, behavioral and social sciences, and applied biological and agricultural sciences; The vector of a particular interaction between science and law (whether one is interested in the effect of law on science and technology, or the effect of science and technology on law); and Crosscutting issues (such as intellectual property, access to research data, identification of expert witnesses, ethical responsibilities of professionals, and the economic effects of regulation). Nearly any aspect of today's science- and technology-dependent society could be examined by the STL Panel. However, to have its greatest impact, the STL Panel will focus its initial activities on two specific areas. At the meeting, the STL Panel formed two working groups that correspond to the topics featured most prominently during its first meeting:

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Page 19 (1) Judicial Use and Understanding of Scientific and Technical Evidence, and (2) Access to Research Data. In advance of the STL Panel's next meeting, scheduled for September 8, 2000, each working group was asked to map and recommend a process by which the full STL Panel could more fully understand the issues underlying these topics.6 6 Following the Panel's first meeting, the Working Group on Judicial Use and Understanding of Scientific and Technical Evidence organized a workshop on scientific evidence on September 7, 2000. The workshop transcript is available at <www.nas.edu/stl>. A report of the workshop will be available in 2001. In addition, the Access to Research Data Working Group held a workshop on March 12, 2001. The transcript and webcast from this meeting are available at <www.nas.edu/stl>. A report of the workshop also will be available in 2001.