There are many excellent reasons for government scientists to be cautious in their dealings with journalists, says Ian Boyd.
Government employs scientists to develop better policies and help to implement them. Some perform particular operational tasks, such as assessing fish stocks, whereas others have a broader, more advisory role.
A few are synthesisers, networkers and organisers, drawing on the scientific literature and wider scientific community. Many do research to sustain skills and improve the knowledge base for policy.