Watchdog Says White House Science Integrity Measure Amounts To A ‘Gag Rule’

"A whistleblower and advocacy group is raising concerns over what they call a “gag rule” against federal scientists that was included in White House scientific integrity guidelines.

Earlier this month, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a model scientific integrity policy as part of a larger framework on the issue for the federal government.

This model policy includes a section that says agency scientists should “refrain from making or publishing statements that could be construed as being judgments of, or recommendations on” federal policies, unless they have gotten authorization to do so.

The model integrity policy is described as an example of what an ideal policy would look like and is broadly not in place at federal agencies yet. Instead, it will inform what agency scientific integrity policies could look like.

The Agriculture Department’s integrity policy includes similar language saying that scientists shouldn’t make policy judgments.

In a press release complaining about the measure on Monday, the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility described the provision against policy judgments as a “gag rule.”"

Rachel Frazin reports for The Hill January 30, 2023.

Source: The Hill, 01/31/2023