In mid-December, 20 federal agencies and departments submitted scientific integrity policies to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The various bodies are drafting independent policies to mesh with their own missions and cultures, but all are subject to certain minimum requirements.

Those requirements include facilitating the free flow of scientific and technological information; ensuring that research used to support policy decisions undergoes independent peer review; hiring people into S&T positions in the executive branch based on their knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity; and implementing procedures to address lapses in scientific integrity and to protect whistleblowers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was one of the earliest to be ready, announcing its policy in early December. Paul Sandifer, who led the effort to draft the NOAA policy, says it spells out that “not only are scientists expected to work with integrity, but those who manage must also...

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