January 12, 2022 report
Scientific Integrity Task Force releases "Protecting the Integrity of Government Science" report
A team of 50 experts from across 29 governmental agencies has released a report created to respond to President Joe Biden's call for more integrity in government science agencies. The report, called "Protecting the Integrity of Government Science," was released on January 11. Biden administration officials Alondra Nelson and Jane Lubchenco, who spearheaded the effort, have published an Editorial piece in the journal Science outlining the main ideas in the report.
During his administration, President Donald Trump often disagreed with findings or assessments made by governmental agencies. He famously claimed, for example, that the federal weather office was wrong when it forecast that hurricane Dorian would not strike Alabama. When he was elected president, Biden claimed that remarks made by Trump had damaged the reputation and credibility of government scientists and vowed to institute policies that would not only restore credibility in governmental science but would enact measures to ensure future presidents could not contradict science agencies. To that end, members of his administration created a task force that included 48 scientists with varied backgrounds from 29 agencies and gave them the mission of developing ways to ensure that research by governmental agencies was both sound and ethical, and to finding ways to protect agencies from dissemination of false information.
In their paper, Nelson and Lubchenco report that members of the task force found that governmental science is generally sound, though they also noted that there have been instances of individuals undermining the work of government scientists. To prevent such actions in the future, the task force proposed instituting new principles that together would preserve integrity across all governmental agencies. They also noted that all agencies need to strengthen policies already in place to protect findings and to create integrity councils that address politicization of science and/or the science work done by government agencies. They also suggest that agencies need to increase accountability for those who violate integrity principles—a means for stifling comments by high-ranking officials in governmental agencies appointed by the president for the purpose of furthering a political agenda.
More information: Report: www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/ … vernment_Science.pdf
Alondra Nelson et al, Strengthening scientific integrity, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.abo0036
Journal information: Science
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