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Scientific Integrity

Protecting scientific integrity in government is vital to the Nation. Scientific integrity is defined as:

“The adherence to professional practices, ethical behavior, and the principles of honesty and objectivity when conducting, managing, using the results of, and communicating about science and scientific activities. Inclusivity, transparency, and protection from inappropriate influence are hallmarks of scientific integrity.”

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.

In response to the 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, federal departments and agencies have been working to strengthen or develop scientific integrity policies and develop a framework for regular assessment and iterative improvement of scientific integrity policies and practices. In response to the Memorandum, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) established a Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

In January 2022, the Committee published a report, Protecting the Integrity of Government Science, which identified good agency practices on scientific integrity and areas in need of consistency across agencies. The report led to the development of a Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice, which was published in January 2023, and includes 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, which was established to coordinate, assess, and communicate on matters of federal scientific integrity.