Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ statement on the March for Science

SEG intends for all stakeholders to view the Society as the source of choice for valid information and analysis.

Tulsa, OK, 11 April 2017 – On Earth Day, 22 April 2017, scientists and supporters of science will hold a series of events worldwide—collectively, the March for Science—to elevate awareness of how science serves society. The organizing entity states its mission as follows: “The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” The cornerstone March for Science will be held in Washington, yet aligned events are planned in more than 400 other cities.

What is the Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ position with respect to the March for Science? Many of our members are sympathetic to the concept of this event and, like me, will participate as individuals. However, SEG is not a partner because it has the appearance of mixing science and political agendas. SEG has members in more than 120 countries and must strive to maintain a consistent and unbiased public position regarding science, with focus on sound scientific practices, technical information transfer, and science-based decision-making. So how does SEG do that?

When formulating strategy last year, SEG adopted an objective to “become the trusted ‘go-to’ source for information about applied geophysics.” Information is widely accessible to everyone, and many false, misleading, and damaging conclusions are drawn from non-science-based analysis and tainted with bias. SEG aims to bring the right science to conversations among researchers, operators, regulators, and the public and thereby foster policies and practices that are safe, viable, economic, and transparent.

A good example of the Society’s proactive advancement of science in the public interest is a proposed SEG wastewater-injection forum that would be held in Tulsa, Okla., USA. Regulators, oil and gas companies, and service companies would meet geoscience experts to review the science related to induced seismicity and geophysical monitoring. A substantial amount of the refereed and published science on the topic is in the SEG domain, and SEG intends for all stakeholders to view the Society as the source of choice for valid information and analysis.

SEG has a vital role to play not only in advancing the excellence and integrity of the work geophysicists perform but also in communicating the social contributions geophysicists make through that work. The Society is expanding its profile in the latter pursuit. Regardless whether they engage in March for Science activities, SEG members can help boost awareness of applied geophysicists’ social contributions by sending more signals to the world about the value of what we do. I think most of those signals will be well received.

Bill Abriel
President
Society of Exploration Geophysicists

 

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