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White House Hosts Roundtable on Scientific Integrity

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working on promoting scientific integrity and seeks public comment.

Science plays a big role in our everyday lives – from the food we grow and eat to the cars we drive to the environment in which we live. We all must be assured that the science conducted in the U.S. is of the highest quality and meets the most stringent standards. President Obama, in the early days of his administration, called for a way to ensure that federally funded science would not be misused and could be trusted for those who need to make decisions based on that science.

The federal science agencies are in the stages of drafting their scientific integrity policies to meet a late summer deadline as requested by John Holdren, the President’s science advisor. Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – the agency that monitors and studies our weather, climate, ocean, and fisheries – took another step toward completing its draft scientific integrity policy.

Some of the top leaders from academia, scientific, and research organizations offered their individual views on how NOAA ‘s draft policy could be improved. As I said at the meeting, "this scientific integrity policy is key to fostering an environment where science is encouraged, nurtured, respected, rewarded, and protected."

And NOAA isn’t just waiting for people to come to us for comments – it is reaching out to groups of people, much like this effort with the scientific leaders – to ensure that as many people who want to comment or offer suggestions on how the draft policy could be improved know how to do so. We held a town hall for NOAA employees in early July, and a call with constituents is planned for July 28.

We all benefit every day from science we can trust. We now have a chance to comment on this draft policy. NOAA seeks public comments on the draft policy and accompanying draft handbook until Aug. 20: Those with limited computer access can call 301-734-1186 to request a copy of the draft policy and handbook and instructions for returning written comments via mail by Aug. 20.

Jane Lubchenco is Administrator of the NOAA.