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OSTP Will Hold Public Listening Sessions on Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced on July 20, 2021, that it is organizing a series of three virtual listening sessions to hear about issues and concerns related to scientific integrity from members of the public who produce, communicate, and use scientific and technical information. 86 Fed. Reg. 38363. According to OSTP, it will use perspectives gathered during the virtual listening sessions to inform the assessment of federal agencies’ scientific-integrity policies and identification of best practices and lessons learned that the National Science and Technology Council’s Task Force on Scientific Integrity is preparing, pursuant to the January 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking.

Each of three listening sessions will be organized around a particular theme and audience:

  • Session 1 (Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT)): Communications, including using effective policies and practices to improve the communication of scientific and technological information, including for engagement of federal scientists and contractors with news media and on social media. The target audience includes individuals from news media, science writers, and science communicators;
     
  • Session 2 (Thursday, July 29, 2021, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (EDT)): Science and Education, including using effective policies and practices to support professional development of scientists and researchers of all genders, races, ethnicities, and backgrounds; to address scientific-integrity issues related to emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and evolving scientific practices, such as citizen science and community-engaged research; to improve training of scientific staff about scientific integrity; and to handle disagreements about scientific methods and conclusions. The target audience includes scientists, engineers, and educators from the federal and non-federal sectors; and
     
  • Session 3 (Friday, July 30, 2021, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT)): Use of Scientific and Technical Information, including using the effectiveness of federal scientific integrity policies to promote trust in federal science and address concerns about a lack of scientific integrity impeding the equitable delivery of the federal government’s programs. The target audience includes individuals who use federal scientific and technical information for decision-making or provision of services; individuals from disadvantaged communities; and other consumers of science.

Participants in all sessions may also comment on the predominant challenges they perceive to scientific integrity in federal agencies and effective practices for minimizing political or other inappropriate interference in the conduct, communication, or use of federal science. Speakers will have up to two minutes each to make a comment. As many speakers will be accommodated as the scheduled time allows. Individuals unable to attend the listening sessions or who would like to provide more detailed information may respond to the Request for Information (RFI) to Improve Federal Scientific Integrity Policies. Comments on the RFI are due July 28, 2021. The registration deadline for the virtual listening sessions is July 23, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).