Draft Scientific Integrity Policies Due from Agencies; Progress Unclear

by Matt Shudtz | August 03, 2011

Today marks 90 days since the last milestone in the White House’s push toward improvements in federal agencies’ scientific integrity policies. Agencies that have made progress in this time ought to release their draft plans and open them to public comment.

 From an outsider’s perspective, there hasn’t been much progress to evaluate recently. It’s something we’ve gotten used to—after an initial push, this administration has not presented much of a sense of urgency in its efforts to set up new scientific integrity policies. 

A quick timeline: President Obama issued an Executive Order in March 2009 that proclaimed the importance of ensuring scientific integrity in the federal government and assigned the task of developing new administration policies to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Dr. John Holdren. In December 2010, Holdren issued a memorandum to the heads of federal agencies, providing them with guidance and minimum standards for the new scientific integrity policies and giving them 120 days to report to him on their progress. According to a May 5, 2011 blog post by OSTP Student Volunteer Mira Atanassova,

more than 30 executive branch departments, agencies, and offices submitted progress reports on the development of their respective scientific integrity policies. A handful went even further than required and provided draft or complete policies for review.

At that time, Holdren gave all agencies 90 days to submit draft policies. 

Here we are 90 days later, and it is ...

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On March 9, President Obama announced a science integrity initiative aimed at taking the politics out of science. In his memorandum that day, he laid out the broad principles and instructed the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to “develop recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch” - and to have the recommendations within 120 days. John Holdren has since been confirmed as OSTP Director. Yesterday, Tuesday July 7, was ...

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