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NASEM Council on Science Integrity

November 3, 2021

The new Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held its first meeting on October 25.  

Marcia McNutt, co-chair of the Council, provided an introduction and moderated the discussion on “Restoring Trust in Government through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking,” with guest speaker Kei Koizumi, Principal Deputy Director for Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Koizumi emphasized the Biden Administration’s commitment to evidence-based policymaking, reflected in the creation of a Scientific Integrity Task Force. Chaired by OSTP staff, with 44 federal officials from across government, the task force is charged with ensuring scientific integrity is a central part of federal governance and informing policies to address societal challenges. Earlier this year, FABBS responded to a request for information from the Task Force aimed at improving the effectiveness of Federal scientific integrity policies to enhance public trust in science. Koizumi noted that the Scientific Integrity Task Force will release its first reports in the coming weeks. The Task Force’s efforts have focused on open science, public access, and understanding the data and information used to make decisions; we can disagree with policy decisions, but it is essential that we are be able to agree on the data. 

The discussion touched on a number of questions, including how to collect fair and equitable data and the role of the federal government versus that of the academy. The challenge of how to build public trust in science inspired particularly robust conversation. Members of the Council questioned whether the general public understands the scientific process sufficiently to know how to process findings or results. Arthur “Skip” Lupia, the outgoing Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation, suggested that there will always be a reliance on trust, and that scientists need to ensure that the public understands their commitment to accuracy. 

Dr. McNutt will be presenting on the December 3 session of the Data Sharing for Scientific Societies Seminar Series – chaired by incoming president Philip Rubin; FABBS is a sponsor.  

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