I was invited to participate  in a White House meeting on scientific integrity last week.  This is a holdover from my time as a senior federal administrator, when, shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, he called for all federal agencies to develop strong policies supporting scientific integrity.  The President’s Science Advisor, as well as Administrators of two federal agencies (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and United States Geological Survey) attended, as did the President of the National Academy of Sciences.

Image of: dignitaries at White House Roundtable on Scientific Integrity.
(Click image to enlarge.) Back row, left to right: Mr. Winer, Mr. Winokur, Dr. Pennock, Dr. Spinrad, Dr. MacDonald, Dr. Lamb, Dr. Yosie, Mr. Goldston, Dr. Robinson, Dr. Ballard, Dr. Gaines . . . . . . Front row, left to right: Ms. Schiffer, Ms. Dreyfus, Dr. McNutt, Dr. Lubchenco, Dr. Washington, Dr. Holdren, Dr. Cicerone (see bios in text)

The issues we discussed at the meeting were fascinating, and relevant to all researchers, such as: prevention of muzzling of research, ensuring scientific results are used appropriately in development of policy, and fostering engagement by researchers with the media.  We discussed how important these issues are in terms of sustaining a leadership role for the U.S. in science, technology, engineering and math.

We also had an engrossing discussion about the implications of social media on issues of scientific integrity.  How do we consider the treatment of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in the context of transmittal of scientific information?  How do we ensure that high quality, accurate research results are fairly represented in such media, and that specious and inaccurate information is flagged as such?  What lessons might we learn from Wikipedia and other such programs?

The issues associated with scientific integrity are manifold, and can become complicated quickly.  I wonder whether there is interest in having a similar dialogue here, at OSU, among our research community.  Let me know your thoughts.

Rick Spinrad
Vice President for Research

Read more Blog by Jane Lubchenco of NOAA ;    OSU Media Release

Round Table participants (alphabetical): brief bios – please see more about the distinguished careers, accomplishments, and contributions on websites of the organizations represented.

Dr. Robert D. Ballard, University of Rhode Island, Director for the Center for Ocean Exploration at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, member of the President’s Commission on Ocean Policy.

Dr. Ralph Cicerone, National Academies of Science, President, and Chair of the National Research Council.

Dr. John Holdren, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Dr. Peter J. Lamb, University of Oklahoma, Professor in School of Meteorology and Director of Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, was founding Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate,  currently Editor of Meteorological Monographs.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA,  Administrator, and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

Dr. Sandy MacDonald, NOAA, directs  Earth System Research Laboratory and serves as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes.

Dr. Jonathon R. Pennock, University of New Hampshire, director of both new Hampshire Sea Grant and the Marine Program at UNH.

Dr. Larry Robinson, NOAA, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management, and Deputy Administrator.

Ms. Lois Schiffer, NOAA, General Counsel.

Dr. Richard W. Spinrad, Oregon State University, Vice President for Research at OSU, previously Assistant Administrator for research for NOAA, and Research Director with the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Dr. Warren Washington, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Senior Scientist, science advisor to five U.S. presidents.

Mr. Andy Winer, NOAA, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Partners and the Acting Director of External Affairs.

Mr. Robert Winokur,  Deputy and Technical Director, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations.

Dr. Terry Yosie, World Environment Center, President and CEO.

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One thought on “Scientific Integrity: White House Roundtable

  1. I am writing as an Oregon citizen. OSU’s proposed involvement with the UAV economic development effort in Bend will test those grey areas of science and public policy. Being part of the science solution is better than staying on the sidelines!!

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