One year after the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directed all federal departments and agencies to develop policies to ensure scientific integrity, only five government agencies have issued a final policy.
As of 21 December 2011, the Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Intelligence Community had issued a final policy.
Fourteen other departments and agencies submitted near-final drafts that are now going through the clearance processes at the White House: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, State, and Transportation, as well as the Veterans Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Environmental Protection Agency was expected to submit a final draft to OTSP last month.
The agency policies are supposed to ensure that federally supported research and scientific information are free from political interference, Federal Advisory Committees operate in a transparent manner that is free of conflicts of interest, and federal scientists can engage in professional development opportunities, such as participation in professional societies.
According to OSTP Director and presidential science advisor Dr. John Holdren, “we are in the home stretch of an important, added milestone: having in place a solid array of standing, agency-specific policies that will assure in unprecedented detail the reliability of government science and scientists—not only during this Administration but for Administrations to come.”
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