By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On January 12, 2023, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the release of A Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice, “a roadmap that will help strengthen scientific integrity policies and practices across the federal government.” The framework builds on the assessment of federal scientific integrity policies and practices described in the January 2022 report, Protecting the Integrity of Government Science, and draws from extensive input from federal agencies, as well as from across sectors, including academia, the scientific community, public interest groups, and industry. According to OSTP, the framework has several key components that federal departments and agencies will use to improve scientific integrity policies and practices, including:
- A consistent definition of scientific integrity for all federal agencies;
- A model scientific integrity policy to guide agencies as they build and update their policies; and
- A set of tools to help agencies regularly assess and improve their policies and practices.
The framework requires all agencies to designate a Scientific Integrity Official (SIO) and agencies that fund, conduct, or oversee research to designate a Chief Science Officer (CSO), and it establishes the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity to oversee implementation of the framework and evaluate agency progress. Agencies are directed to adopt the following timeline:
- Within 120 days from public posting of the framework: OSTP and the Subcommittee will complete the reviews using the framework’s critical policy features for assessment;
- Within 180 days after public posting of the framework: Each agency should provide an opportunity for public input on its scientific integrity policies and practices, such as through a listening session or request for comment on its draft policy;
- Within 270 days from public posting of the framework: Final policies are due to OSTP. OSTP will compile and make public all agency policies, as well as all agencies’ designated CSOs and SIOs on a federal web page;
- Within 360 days from public posting of the framework and every two years thereafter: All agencies report to OSTP on their progress toward implementing the Framework; and
- For calendar year 2023 and annually thereafter: Each agency should publish, consistent with any requirements related to national security and privacy as well as any other applicable law, an annual report on the agency’s website.