President Biden has issued an executive order reemphasizing and expanding on integrity policies for government science, saying that “improper political interference in the work of federal scientists or other scientists who support the work of the federal government and in the communication of scientific facts undermines the welfare of the nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the trust that the public places in government to best serve its collective interests”
“When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, it should be subjected to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where feasible and appropriate, with appropriate protections for privacy,” the order says.
Agencies are to “establish and enforce scientific-integrity policies that ban improper political interference in the conduct of scientific research and in the collection of scientific or technological data, and that prevent the suppression or distortion of scientific or technological findings, data, information, conclusions, or technical results.”
It orders the convening of a task force to review the effectiveness of agency scientific integrity policies ordered by the Obama administration, including whether they “prevent improper political interference” in the conduct of research or the presentation of findings. That group also is to review and assess the impact of instances in which those policies were not followed.
Individual agencies also are to conduct internal reviews of compliance and revise and update their policies as necessary. It says such policies must assure that agencies educate their employees who perform scientific activities for the agency “on their rights and responsibilities related to scientific integrity, including by conducting routine training on the agency’s scientific-integrity policy for all employees, and by ensuring any new employees are made aware of their responsibilities under the agency’s scientific-integrity policy shortly after they are hired.”