Earth and Space Scientists Endorse DOI Roadmap for Scientific and Scholarly Integrity

1 February 2011

Joint Release

WASHINGTON—The American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization of Earth and space scientists, endorses a Department of Interior (DOI) plan released today for ensuring scientific and scholarly integrity throughout its research and program operations.

“DOI’s new plan recognizes the importance of scientific and scholarly integrity in building trust in science that informs public policy,” said Michael J. McPhaden, AGU’s President. “Integrity of the scientific enterprise is essential for guiding the scientific community, policy makers, and the general public as we work together to meet global challenges related to climate change, natural hazards, and wise use of our natural resources.”

DOI’s policy is innovative. For the first time, it makes clear that responsibility for scientific integrity includes all aspects of agency programs. In addition to scientists, it applies to agency employees, political appointees, volunteers, and those who work with the department in a variety of business relationships.

“The fact that Interior can develop a single scientific integrity policy that applies to agencies as diverse as the US Geological Survey (USGS), with its science mission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with its social services mission, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which conducts research in support of natural resources management, bodes well for successful implementation in other departments,” said Marcia McNutt, Director of the USGS, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and former AGU president. The USGS is the primary science agency within the Department of the Interior.

In addition to a code of conduct for scientists, decision-makers, and others, the policy contains detailed procedures for free flow of information and for reporting and resolving allegations regarding scientific or scholarly misconduct.

The DOI policy was developed in response to guidelines released last year by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). It represents specific, detailed implementation of a Presidential directive for all agencies to give clear guidance for ensuring scientific integrity at all levels within their operations. DOI is the first federal group of agencies with a fully functional scientific integrity policy that meets OSTP guidelines.

“We urge other agencies to develop similar policies,” said Christine McEntee, AGU’s Executive Director. “They are ‘win-win’ for the federal government, the scientific community, and those we serve.”

The policy also clearly outlines how DOI scientists and others may participate as officers or members of boards of directors of non-federal organizations and professional societies. “This provides career development opportunities for DOI employees, enhances the credibility of government science, and enriches the diversity of expertise in organizations such as AGU,” said McPhaden.

The American Geophysical Union is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization with more than 60,000 members representing over 148 countries. AGU advances the Earth and space sciences through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs.

Ann Cairns, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach, AGU
Phone: +1 202 777 7505, E-mail: [email protected]