The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed a new policy to protect NOAA scientists from political interference. NOAA’s release of a draft policy follows the recent adoption of a scientific integrity policy by the Department of the Interior.

“NOAA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the scientific activities it conducts, and activities that are conducted on its behalf,” states the draft policy. “It will not tolerate loss of integrity in the performance of scientific activities or in the application of science in decision-making.”

In order to accomplish these goals, NOAA will facilitate the free flow of scientific information; document the scientific knowledge considered in decision making and where feasible use information that has been independently peer review; base hiring decisions for scientific positions on the candidate’s integrity, experience, and credentials; and examine, track, and resolve allegations of scientific misconduct.

The proposed policy applies to all employees, political appointees, and contractors who engage in, supervise, or manage scientific activities, publicly communicate science, or use scientific information in decision making. The policy includes codes of conduct for scientists and for supervisors and managers.

The policy allows NOAA scientists to speak to the media and the public about scientific and technical matters. It encourages NOAA scientists to publish and disseminate scientific findings and data, including through peer-reviewed journals. They are also encouraged to present their research at scientific meetings, serve on editorial boards and expert review panels, and participate and serve in leadership capacities within professional societies.

NOAA is accepting public comments on the draft policy through 15 August 2011. For more information, visit


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