Scientific Integrity Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

A bill that aims to protect scientific integrity in research conducted or funded by the federal government was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate. The “Scientific Integrity Bill” (S. 338) is sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and almost 30 other co-sponsors, all Democrats to date.

The bill would codify existing policies at numerous federal agencies, which were put into place as a result of an Executive Order by President Obama requiring agencies to develop policies to protect scientific integrity. In recent weeks, scientists inside and outside government have been concerned about a potential change in open communication practices.

As introduced, S. 338 would require the head of every Federal agency funding or conducting scientific research to “develop and enforce” a scientific integrity policy that ensures the “scientific conclusions and personnel actions regarding scientists are not based on political considerations.” The policy must also allow a scientist to review public materials citing their work or opinion. Agency heads must also “promote the open exchange of data and findings” and “prevent the intentional or unintentional suppression or distortion of the data and findings” of research conducted by a scientist who is either employed or contracted by the Federal agency.

View the bill here: Scientific Integrity Act