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April 21, 2011 

White House Science and Tech Office Gets an Incomplete; More Transparency Needed for New Scientific Integrity Policies

Statement by Francesca Grifo

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2011) -- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) posted a blog entry this afternoon on the status of new scientific integrity policies at federal departments, agencies and offices. More than 30 agencies were required by theWhite House’s December 17, 2010, scientific integrity guidelines to report to the OSTP by April 18 on their progress in writing the new policies. (See an April 19 UCS media alert for more information.)

Earlier this week an OSTP spokesman assured UCS that the OSTP would disclose what it received from the agencies as early as today, when it expects agencies to finalize their policies. UCS asked OSTP to also explain how it will ensure that the departments, agencies and offices write their new policies in a transparent, timely and responsible manner. OSTP today reported that it received 30 responses, but did not reveal their contents.

Below is a statement by Francesca Grifo, director of UCS’s Scientific Integrity Program:

“OSTP has done yeoman’s work to round up responses from nearly all of the executive branch departments, agencies and offices that were supposed to report this week. Out of the 30 responses, there were six drafts or complete policies. That’s the good news. The bad news is we have precious little information about what any of the responses said. So when it comes to transparency, OSTP gets an incomplete.

“Fortunately, the process is not over. Now that the departments, agencies and offices have put something down on paper, they need to involve the public through a public comment period to gather diverse expert opinion and allow for widespread input.

“Finally, OSTP needs to set some firm deadlines for the entire process. What comes next, and when will all the policies be done and available on its website for all to see?”

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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