NOAA invites comment on scientific integrity policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is inviting public comments on its new draft scientific integrity policy.

The policy incorporates the principles of scientific integrity contained in guidance from the White House, and addresses how NOAA ensures quality science in its practices and policies and promotes a culture of transparency, integrity and ethical behavior. The draft document is available on the agency’s Website for public comment through Aug. 15.

“Scientific integrity is at the core of producing and using good science,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “By being open and honest about our science, we build understanding and trust. This policy reflects the commitment I made when I first came to NOAA to strengthen science, ensure it is not misused or undermined, and base decisions on good science. This scientific integrity policy is about fostering an environment where science is encouraged, nurtured, respected, rewarded and protected.”

The policy contains the principles articulated in President Obama’s March 9, 2009, memorandum and further guidance provided by White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren.

The draft policy:

  • Lays out formal guidance with a “Code of Conduct”
  • Creates the conditions for enabling first-rate science and guarding against attempts to undermine, discredit or change it
  • States the key role of science in informing policy
  • Encourages scientists to publish data and findings to advance science, their careers and NOAA’s reputation for reliable science
  • Encourages NOAA scientists to be leaders in the scientific community
  • Provides whistle-blower protection
  • Applies to all NOAA employees and provides applicable policies for contractors and grantees who conduct, supervise, assess and/or interpret scientific information for the use of NOAA, the Department of Commerce and the nation
  • Includes a training component.

NOAA also seeks comments on an accompanying handbook that outlines procedures to respond to allegations of misconduct. Both draft documents can be found at Comments should be sent to

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