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Research Integrity

US federal task force broadens definition of scientific integrity

Group adds 5 new principles to existing federal guidelines

by Andrea Widener
January 13, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 2


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a report Jan. 11 that aims to strengthen federal policies on scientific integrity.

The report comes from a Scientific Integrity Task Force started by President Joe Biden to examine scientific failures during President Donald J. Trump’s administration and how to avoid them in the future. It included members from 29 federal agencies.

“There have been lapses that could undermine public trust in science and jeopardize federal scientists’ and technologists’ morale and motivation to innovate,” OSTP deputy directors Alondra Nelson and Jane Lubchenco wrote in an editorial (Science 2022, DOI: 10.1126/science.abo0036).

The task force recommends five new principles of scientific integrity that should be added to existing guidelines. These include scientists’ right to dissent, the ability of government scientists to speak freely, and accountability for violations of scientific integrity policies. The task force also says integrity rules should apply to all employees, including political appointees, and that scientists should actively participate in decision making.

“The administration has made some progress already, but there’s a long way to go to rebuild and re-imagine the federal government’s scientific enterprise,” Jacob Carter of the Union of Concerned Scientists says in an emailed statement.


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