Statement by Michael Halpern, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (December 18, 2014)—The Department of the Interior has released a new scientific integrity policy that sets a strong standard for the administration, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Below is a statement from Michael Halpern, Program Manager at the Center for Science and Democracy:

“The Department of the Interior’s new scientific integrity policy is simplified, streamlined, and clear. With this policy, Interior continues to stand at the front of the pack in the Obama administration’s quest to create strong scientific integrity standards within government.

“Outside pressure on the Department of Interior to politicize science is strong, so it’s critical that the department respond with strong policies to protect science and scientists from political interference in their work.

“While the different bureaus within the Department of Interior have been uneven in terms of embracing reform, headquarters has devoted significant resources to implementing and improving its scientific integrity policies, and this new policy is no exception. The new policy and handbook provide significantly more specifics on the purview of the policy and how it will be carried out. The new online training program and intra-departmental scientific integrity council should go a long way to making sure that the policy becomes part of the department’s culture. To fully realize the gains it has made and ensure external accountability, Interior should make clear that completed investigations will continue to be reported publicly.”

Halpern explores the strengths and weaknesses of the policy in a new blog post.

Source: The Union of Concerned Scientists