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August 15, 2011

Scientific Integrity Plans Make Headway

Ethics: Federal agencies file draft policies as directed by the White House

David J. Hanson

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All federal agencies have submitted, or will submit soon, new scientific integrity policies in final or draft form, reports the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. All told, OSTP received policies from 19 agencies by the Aug. 5 deadline, with three pending, says senior policy analyst, Rick Weiss.

The White House requested the policies in an effort to instill a culture of scientific integrity across government. OSTP director John P. Holdren issued the call for the policies on May 5 in response to a 2009 Presidential memorandum (C&EN, Jan. 10, page 28). The memorandum was a response to concerns about politicization of science during the George W. Bush Administration.

The submitted integrity plans include 14 draft policies and five final policies. The final policies are from the National Aeronautics & Space Administration, the Director of National Intelligences for the intelligence agencies, and the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and Interior.

Draft integrity policies are in hand from the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, Labor, and Transportation and from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Social Security Administrations, OSTP, and Veterans Administration.

The drafts still under review are from the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, and the National Institute of Standards & Technology.

Despite this progress, some government watchdog organizations have trouble with the submitted policies. The group OMB Watch, for example, says that the process is haphazard and that OSTP still has not set a deadline for agencies to finalize their policies. It also is critical of the agencies for not soliciting public comment on their policies.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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