Interior Cedes to Critics on Scientific Integrity

October 6, 2010

The Interior Department has revised its scientific integrity policy after an initial proposal met with strong criticism from some science and open-government groups. The revision seems to be getting more support.

Interior's initial proposal, critics complained, put the integrity onus on lower-level scientists, while the real problem was suppression and manipulation of scientific results by the political appointees who are their bosses. The revised policy, issued as a Secretarial Order September 29, 2010, specifically applies to political appointees as well as scientists.

As revised, the policy also declares a presumption of openness in public access to scientific information generated at the agency. It also affirms the right of scientific employees to talk to news media and investigative agencies.