Thursday, September 23, 2010

OMB Watch Says DOI Policy Inadequate to Protect Scientific Integrity

OMB Watch, a watchdog organization focusing on scrutinizing Office of Management and Budget activities, has given support to comments filed criticizing the Department of Interior's proposed scientific integrity policy.  The policy is in response to the March 2009 memo from President Obama establishing six principles for scientific integrity.  OMB Watch joins comments filed by the Union of Concerned Scientists and other public interest and environmental groups in saying that the policy "fails to address the full range of threats to scientific integrity at DOI, such as those evidenced by abuses at the former Minerals Management Service."

The commenters do agree that the proposed policy "does take steps to prevent misconduct by scientists."  But they charge that it "fails to protect scientist whistleblowers" and "does little to improve either the transparency of scientific activities or the ways that scientific information is used in decision making."  They further state that the proposed policy effectively "does nothing to prevent political interference with science."

OMB Watch and the Union of Concerned Scientists provide comments that discuss three areas where reforms are needed: 1) protecting government scientists, 2) making government more transparent, and 3) gathering scientific information and advice.  More information can be found at OMB Watch, the comments themselves, and the web site of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Recommedations are more than a year overdue.

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