The goal of the Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice is to assist agencies across the Federal Government as they take next steps together to strengthen, implement, and institutionalize scientific integrity policy, practice, and culture.
Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a roadmap that will help strengthen scientific integrity policies and practices across the federal government.
The framework requires all agencies to designate a scientific integrity official, and agencies that fund, conduct, or oversee research to designate a chief science officer, and it establishes the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity to oversee implementation of the framework, and evaluate agency progress.
This framework builds on the assessment of federal scientific integrity policies and practices described in the January 2022 report, Protecting the Integrity of Government Science, and draws from extensive input from federal agencies, as well as from across sectors, including academia, the scientific community, public interest groups, and industry. It has several key components that federal departments and agencies will use to improve scientific integrity policies and practices, including:
- A consistent definition of scientific integrity for all federal agencies
- A model scientific integrity policy to guide agencies as they build and update their policies
- A set of tools to help agencies regularly assess and improve their policies and practices
“The work of federal scientists touches all of us. Lives depend on extreme weather forecasting, pollution monitoring, medical research, and other scientific efforts. So we need to be able to trust that we’re getting the best available evidence-based science, based on the public interest rather than the narrow ideological or commercial interests of the most powerful. That’s why we need clear, enforceable scientific integrity rules like those in today’s new framework. This is a very strong framework, but the real impact will come from how it’s implemented. Every agency now has a responsibility to make sure its expert staff know their rights, and that political appointees know that these rules will be taken seriously and they will be held accountable if they break them.” (Union of Concerned Scientists)
Government watchdogs praised the White House’s 66-page guidance document as a major — and long-overdue — step forward. However, they say, further steps will be needed to secure the role of scientists and science in government decision-making and to prevent the type of political meddling that occurred under Trump. The new guidance includes a model scientific-integrity policy for federal agencies to use as a template. Agencies now have 60 days to submit their own policies for review by the OSTP, and are expected to post their proposed policies for public comment within 6 months. Agencies then have another 3 months to finalize their policies. (Nature)
EPA’s FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan outlines seven strategic goals focused on protecting human health and the environment and four cross-agency strategies that describe the essential ways EPA will work to carry out our mission. Cross-Agency Strategy 1 is to ensure Scientific Integrity and Science-Based Decision Making. Actions supporting this initiative include, but are not limited to, the following: Promote a culture of Scientific Integrity at EPA and ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities for adhering to scientific integrity and science-based decision making; deliver rigorous scientific research and analyses to inform evidence-based decision making; and communicate science with honesty, integrity, and transparency as well as make certain that information is accessible across communities. (EPA)