In a report on the National Science and Technology Council, the Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee spotlighted different approaches for how the Federal government can protect government science.
The Task Force identified five areas that warrant special mention—building off the areas of improvement in the 2021 Task Force report. Those five areas are:
- Dissent within the scientific community benefits science to sharpen ideas and thinking;
- Apply scientific integrity policies across government for agencies engaged in the production, analysis, communication, and use of evidence, science, and technology;
- Have science inform policy and management decisions and scientists participating in policymaking;
- Transparency in sharing science to promote accountability to the American public; and
- Maintain accountability as “violations of scientific integrity should be considered on par with violations of government ethics, with comparable consequences.”
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will use the findings in the Task Force report to develop an assessment plan and iterative improvement of scientific integrity policies and practices. Further, agency leadership will work closely with OSTP to deploy the new framework.
“A robust democracy requires a common wellspring of reliable information,” the report states. “Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are crucial to the American public’s health, safety, and prosperity, and to the development, assessment, and equitable delivery of Federal programs and services.”
The Task Force found, when reviewing the effectiveness of agency scientific integrity policies, that protecting scientific integrity results in better decisions, translating to better policies to help people and communities of all backgrounds; and existing agency policies are responsive to the principles and guidance in previous executive actions.
Among other items, the Task Force also states that further action is needed to establish and maintain a culture of scientific integrity across individuals and agencies that conduct, manage, communicate, and make use of science.
Going forward, the Task Force is planning to develop the framework called for in the 2021 Presidential Memorandum to inform and support regular assessments and iterative improvement of agency scientific integrity policies and practices. It will also “contribute to ongoing efforts to deliver an equitable and inclusive scientific enterprise.”