Monday, August 8, 2011

EPA Issues Draft Scientific Integrity Policy

The USEPA has issued a draft scientific integrity policy, following similar documents by NOAA and the Department of the Interior, and in response to President Obama's Executive Order calling for all agencies to develop such a policy.  The draft policy comes as no surprise, as EPA in June named long-time EPA staffer William Sanders as the "Scientific Integrity Officer."

The 12-page document, which can be downloaded as a PDF here, essentially formalizes integrity policies that have already been in force at EPA for years.  It covers all scientific staff and is designed to:
  • Ensure that their work is of the highest integrity, free from political influence.
  • Represent their own work fairly and accurately
  • Represent and acknowledge the intellectual contributions of others.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and ensure impartiality.
  • Be cognizant of and understand the specific programmatic statutes that guide the employee’s work.
  • Welcome differing views and opinions on scientific and technical matters as a
    legitimate and necessary part of the scientific process.
  • Accept the affirmative responsibility to report any breach of this Scientific
    Integrity Policy.
The policy specifies four areas in which these goals are to be achieved, "a) the culture of scientific integrity at EPA, b) public communications, c) the use of Federal advisory committees and peer review, and d) professional development of government scientists and engineers."

The draft policy also "establishes a Scientific Integrity Committee," which is charged with implementing the policy across EPA.  The makeup of the committee is still under development, but will be responsible for "implementing, reviewing, and revising as needed" the policy.

The draft policy is open for public comment through September 6, 2011 and should be emailed to

More information, contact info, and links to the policy can be found in EPA's news release.

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