April 28, 2022
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), a federal agency known as the “Congressional Watchdog,” published recommendations to improve scientific integrity at several health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The document offers guidance to agencies on how to protect scientific decision-making from political interference.
This publication follows similar actions from the Biden Administration, which earlier this year established the White House Scientific Integrity Task Force. This group solicited input from the public (to which FABBS contributed) reflected in its report on “Protecting the Integrity of Government Science.”
GAO found that these agencies “do not have procedures that define political interference in scientific decision-making or describe how it should be reported and addressed.” Of most relevance to FABBS members, the report specifically suggests that:
“The NIH Director should ensure that procedures for reporting and addressing potential political interference in scientific decision-making are developed and documented, including adding a definition of political interference, and that its scientific integrity trainings on these procedures are updated.”
FABBS will continue to monitor scientific integrity initiatives at the federal level and make sure that our scientists’ voices are represented in conversations about improving the accurate use of research in policymaking.