1) OSTP Releases Framework for Strengthening Federal Scientific Integrity Policies and Practices [blog]
Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released A Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice, a roadmap that will help strengthen scientific integrity policies and practices across the federal government.
This framework builds on the assessment of federal scientific integrity policies and practices described in the January 2022 report, Protecting the Integrity of Government Science, and draws from extensive input from federal agencies, as well as from across sectors, including academia, the scientific community, public interest groups, and industry. It has several key components that federal departments and agencies will use to improve scientific integrity policies and practices, including:
-- A consistent definition of scientific integrity for all federal agencies
-- A model scientific integrity policy to guide agencies as they build and update their policies
-- A set of tools to help agencies regularly assess and improve their policies and practices
The framework requires all agencies to designate a scientific integrity official, and agencies that fund, conduct, or oversee research to designate a chief science officer, and it establishes the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity to oversee implementation of the framework, and evaluate agency progress.
The framework was developed following a robust effort to study and improve scientific integrity policies and outcomes, and extensive engagement with stakeholders inside and outside of the federal government starting in May 2021. This process included engaging 30 federal agencies, and processing feedback from over 1,000 individuals and organizations through three listening sessions, three roundtables, and two requests for information.
Strong policies and effective practices protecting scientific integrity are essential for the development of evidence-based policies. By bolstering these policies and practices across the federal government, this first-of-its-kind framework will strengthen the ability of agencies and federal scientists to produce critical scientific information for evidence-based policymaking that can help make our nation healthier, safer, more prosperous, and more secure.
2) A Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice
The 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking charges OSTP to (1) review agency scientific integrity policy effectiveness and (2) to develop a framework for regular assessment and iterative improvement of agency scientific integrity policies and practices (Framework). This document builds on the review published in January 2022 by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) entitled Protecting the Integrity of Government Science, which identified good agency practices on scientific integrity and areas in need of consistency across agencies. This Framework includes key resources for agencies as they work to develop and improve scientific integrity policies, practices, and culture. The Framework reflects input from the interagency Scientific Integrity Task Force and other key Federal officials, and includes considerations from public input.
To foster regular assessment and iterative improvement at Federal agencies, the Framework includes several components, including a first-ever Government-wide definition of scientific integrity, a roadmap of activities and outcomes to achieve an ideal state of scientific integrity, a Model Scientific Integrity Policy, as well as critical policy features and metrics that OSTP will use to iteratively assess agency progress. The Framework also includes a charter for the newly established NSTC Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity. This subcommittee has been chartered by the NSTC Committee on Science to assist OSTP in assessment and iterative improvement of agency and EOP component scientific integrity policies, practices, and culture; provide advisory responses to agency requests for another agency to review their internal scientific integrity policies and processes, such as inquiries related to senior-level officials, political appointees, or scientific integrity officials; and serve as a community of practice for Federal agency scientific integrity officials and staff.
The goal of this Framework is to assist agencies across the Federal Government as they take next steps together to strengthen, implement, and institutionalize scientific integrity policy, practice, and culture.
Scientific and technological information is essential for the development of evidence-based policies and the equitable delivery of government programs intended to improve the environment and the health, security, safety, and well-being of all people. In turn, government science and scientific activities must be held to the highest standards of scientific integrity, free from inappropriate influence at all stages from development to dissemination. A strong culture of scientific integrity allows science and scientists at Federal agencies to thrive and supports agencies’ abilities to meet their missions. Most pressingly, measures to prevent and address political interference in the conduct, management, communication, or use of science should be at the forefront of agency practices to bolster high standards of scientific integrity. Indeed, over the last decade and a half, Federal departments, agencies, administrations, and commissions (referred to collectively as “agencies”) have taken steps to strengthen scientific integrity with good practices. These good practices were outlined in the 2022 National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Report titled: Protecting the Integrity of Government Science (Report). . . . [T]he Report identifies approaches to bolster the ability of Federal agencies to protect government science focusing on the following categories: strengthening scientific integrity policies, making scientific integrity everyone’s responsibility, implementing good practices, addressing emerging themes, institutionalizing scientific integrity, and identifying next steps for enhancing scientific integrity. The NSTC presents this agency guidance, translating these good practices and areas in need of improvement identified by the report into a framework. This framework will support the continuation of the improvement of scientific integrity policies and practices across the Federal government.
The 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking (PM 2021) charges OSTP and NSTC to (1) review agency scientific integrity policies and consider whether they prevent political interference in the conduct, management, communication, and use of science, and identify effective practices for improving their implementation (resulting in the Report) and (2) to develop a framework for regular assessment and iterative improvement of agency scientific integrity policies and practices. This Framework includes key resources for agencies to use as they develop or update their scientific integrity policies, monitor and measure agency implementation, and work to improve their policies, practices, and culture. The Framework reflects input from the Scientific Integrity Task Force (presently per the publication of this document, the NSTC Scientific Integrity Framework Interagency Working Group, or SIF-IWG; and formerly the NSTC Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee, or SI-FTAC), other key Federal officials, and the public.
To facilitate regular assessment, iterative improvement, and a scientific integrity community of practice for Federal agencies, the NSTC has established the Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity (the Subcommittee). . . .
To assess agency scientific integrity policies and practices, as directed in the Presidential Memorandum, OSTP will be guided by the roadmap of activities and outcomes to achieve an ideal state of scientific integrity (Chapter 2) and the Model Scientific Integrity Policy (Chapter 4). Specifically, OSTP, working through the Subcommittee, will use the following to assess agency scientific integrity policies and practices, while allowing appropriate agency flexibility in policy provisions, metrics, and activities:
1. Critical Metrics for Assessment of: a. Agency Activities (Chapter 3, Table 5) and b. Short-Term and Intermediate Outcomes (Chapter 3, Table 6)
2. Critical Scientific Integrity Policy Features (Chapter 5, Table 7)
The goal of this Framework is to assist agencies across the entire Federal government as they take next steps together to strengthen and institutionalize scientific integrity policy, practice, and culture and to fill gaps in consistency across government as identified in the Report. The balance of this section describes the organization of the Framework, which provides agencies with the tools necessary to strengthen scientific integrity policies and practices.
Chapter 1 presents a government-wide definition of scientific integrity. . . .
Chapter 2 provides a roadmap to achieve a culture of scientific integrity that is institutionalized in agencies, in which the accuracy and objectivity of science is preserved, and public trust in agency science is improved. . . .
Chapter 3 highlights the critical metrics that will be used by OSTP and the Subcommittee in their biennial assessment of agency implementation and improvement of scientific integrity policies and practices, drawing directly from the roadmap presented in Chapter 2. . . .
Chapter 4 presents a model scientific integrity policy to assist agencies as they develop and update their policies. The model policy contains suggested sections and text for agency use. Agencies may adopt or adapt the model scientific integrity policy language and organization to fit their needs.
Chapter 5 lists critical scientific integrity policy features that will be assessed by OSTP. These critical policy features are demonstrated in the model scientific integrity policy in Chapter 4. Agencies should ensure their policies encompass the intent of the critical policy features, which may or may not include verbatim Model Policy language. . . .
Collectively, these five chapters provide resources to strengthen scientific integrity across the Federal government by laying out expectations for improving agency policies and practices. Agencies can continue to refer to this Framework to adapt, refine, and implement scientific integrity policies toward restoring trust in Federal science and ensuring unencumbered science informs decision-making across the Federal Government.
3) OMB Memo: Delivery of the Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice