Audience, consequence, and journal selection in toxic-exposure epidemiology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Even preliminary toxic-exposure epidemiology papers can spark “media scares” and questionable reactions amongst the public. Concerns for the social consequences of publication can lead epidemiologists—despite the advantages of visible publication—to choose a more obscure outlet for potentially sensitive studies. Interviews with 61 US toxic-exposure epidemiologists indicate that investigators generally sought visible journals to transmit their work to the widest relevant audience. Yet up to 36–46% of this sample sometimes have sought or would seek to keep their research from a public who, they feared, might misuse their results. Implications for the boundaries between science and society (including evidence of hidden scientific activism and “inert” public activism) are discussed, and six hypotheses for further research are proposed.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1541-1546
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2004


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