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White House science office reports mixed progress on integrity

HoldrenObama7_0.jpgThe White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has reported on the progress of the scientific integrity initiative that began with a stirring memo issued by US President Barack Obama in 2009. It says that fully 30 agencies have responded to a December 17, 2010 memo by OSTP director John Holdren that asked officials to prioritize the development of new integrity guidelines and report back to the White House in the next 120 days. “[This is] a gratifying first step to the assurance of scientific integrity across the executive branch,” says OSTP in a blog post. However, only six agencies have actually delivered draft policies.

The respondents include key science funding agencies such as the US Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

The December 17 memo was itself 17 months delayed from a timetable laid out by Obama in 2009, and the latest post by OSTP did not include details as to why that might have been, or what the content of the agency responses has been. One watchdog group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, has filed a lawsuit under the US Freedom of Information Act to try to find out more. OSTP released some documents after the suit was filed, but PEER complains

many sections have been redacted.

Image: OSTP Director John Holdren with US President Barack Obama / White House

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