White House scientific integrity panel draws its own scrutiny

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The Biden administration’s push to strengthen scientific integrity policies across federal agencies delivered its first report this week, but a co-chair of the report’s panel has recently received its own questions from the scientific community about research integrity ethics violations. is facing.

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Why this matters: The report could help address political interference or other ways of undermining the science used to attract public health, environmental and technology policies.

key takeaways: First report good The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has called for strengthening existing agency policies that protect federal science from repression, manipulation and influence, including by politicians.

  • It also recommends the creation of an inter-agency body to help implement policies across the board and resolve political interference – particularly by senior-level officials who can be separated from their agencies.
  • The authors underscored the need for policies to cover citizen science as well as AI and other emerging technologies.
  • The report does not explicitly define scientific integrity, but does suggest that a standard definition may be useful to the federal government and explains how it can incorporate research integrity.

“It’s a great first step which lays the groundwork for strengthening scientific integrity,” says Jacob Carter, who conducts research on scientific integrity at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He calls on the authors to train all employees, contractors, grantees and political appointees. Highlighted – not just scientists.

  • But the report does not specify how violators should be held accountable and how those consequences will be enforced, Carter says.

facing panel An uncomfortable scientific integrity issue in itself. Renowned marine scientist Jane Lubchenko, co-chair of the White House’s Scientific Integrity Task Force, is facing criticism for her role in a research paper withdrawn last year.

  • Before she assumed her current position as OSTP’s first deputy director of climate and environment, Lubchenko edited A research paper published in a reputed scientific journal PNAS,
  • paper on marine protected areas was withdrawn from magazine in October 2021 because the data contained in the analysis was not the most up-to-date and for conflict of interest infringement policies
  • Lubchenko has a personal relationship with one of the authors (his brother-in-law) and collaborates with the authors on related research, “both of which are not permitted” by the journal’s editorial policies, PNAS stated in its withdrawal statement.
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What are they saying: the researchers research criticized and pointed to the importance of Sacrifice Given that Lubchenko is currently in the role of the White House. Roger Pilke Jr., a science policy researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, even said Write that its task force leadership should be reconsidered.

  • Violations happen, and it’s not “earth-shattering,” he told Nerdshala.
  • But Lubchenko’s role in leading the Biden administration’s efforts on scientific integrity sends the message that they “do not expect to be held accountable for this.”
  • “issues that PNAS That paper was accompanied by peer review and its role in it has been explicitly selected as matters of scientific integrity in this report,” Pilke said.
  • An OSTP official told Nerdshala Lubchenko that the paper should be withdrawn. “But this task force report … explicitly addresses situations where there is a close personal or professional relationship with a peer reviewer. There is therefore no evidence that Jane’s work with the task force resulted in There was a drawn-out punch on this subject.”

Backstory: The Bush and Obama administrations implemented some guidelines on scientific integrity policies, but many are still lacking in them and vary across agencies.

  • The Trump administration worked on integrity policies, which were in place. Trump, for example, famously changed, in 2019, a forecast map of Hurricane Dorian’s path, using a black Sharpie, incorrectly saying it threatened the state of Alabama.
  • When President Biden took office last year, he issued a memorandum Calling for a task force to review scientific integrity policies in federal agencies and make recommendations to strengthen policies.

what to watch: Introduced by Representative Paul Tonko (D.N.Y.) scientific integrity bill Congress last year. The bill, which has 178 co-sponsors (all of whom are Democrats), calls for standardizing policies across agencies.

  • Proponents of the law, including Pilke, say it is the most effective way to protect federal science and scientists from political interference.


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