Expert selection policy

The Science Media Centre’s aim is to improve public access to science and evidence-based research through the media.

We operate independently, and while our activities may inform and sometimes spur debate, we do not endorse any particular standpoint, nor do we work to promote the agenda of specific organisations or individuals.

The SMC has a clear policy on who we approach for comment and disclosure of conflicts of interest.

We evaluate experts according the following criteria:

  • Relevant peer-reviewed publications
  • Professional experience and track record
  • Current standing (active contributor to their field)
  • Availability and accessibility to media within the required time frame

As a rule, the SMC does not:

  • Select experts on the basis of their stance on an issue
  • Privilege spokespeople over subject matter experts
  • Alter the content of experts’ comments except for clarity
  • Accept unsolicited comments

Where the expertise of an individual is questioned, the SMC will refer final decisions on the suitability of that expert to the SMC Advisory Board.

Conflicts of interests

The SMC is committed to transparency. We ask all experts we approach for comment to identify and declare any potential conflicts of interest. Material the SMC distributes to the media and publishes on our website contains full disclosure of any declared interests and affiliations.

Where an expert fails to declare a significant conflict of interest, we will seek guidance from the SMC Advisory Board on appropriate corrective action and the expert’s suitability for inclusion in future activities.