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US president-elect Joe Biden must quickly restore science to government

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a mountain to climb, but the work starts now.Credit: Drew Angerer/GettyAfter four years of daily hammer-blows to the foundations of government, democracy and evidence-based policy, a majority of US voters have rightly decided that enough is enough, and have embraced a future of hope, truth, decency, evidence and science.

The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the United States provides a welcome glimmer of hope in a year dominated by the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country, and the world, can begin to close the door on four years of chaos, catastrophe, incompetence and the normalization of false information from the holder of the United States’ highest public office. In a Nature poll run since the election result was announced, more than 75% of respondents said they are optimistic about the results.

As expected, President Donald Trump continues in his refusal to accept the result, but we are confident that the rule of law will prevail and that his term of office will end, as it must, on 20 January 2021.

When this journal endorsed Biden’s candidacy for president of the United States, we did so in part because of his campaign pledges to restore the place of science in government and to return the country to its previous international commitments. Within days of the result being called for Biden and Harris, the incoming administration declared that the United States will rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accords and reverse Trump’s dangerous decision to exit the World Health Organization (WHO). In our poll, Nature readers expressed support for these priorities — and hoped that the administration would appoint a science adviser and do more to support pandemic science.

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