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Good practices

An integrity official at every agency

On January 27, United States President Joe Biden ordered a review of the scientific integrity policies of all federal agencies. The “Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking” highlights the need to prevent “improper political interference” and states that all government agencies, even those that do not fund scientific research, must employ a scientific-integrity official to ensure the proper use of science in policymaking. The previous administration, led by Donald Trump, was accused of interfering in the decisions of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and of preventing the disclosure of scientific assessments.

Geneticist Eric Lander, Biden’s top adviser on science, will be responsible for monitoring scientific integrity in government agencies. Over the next four months, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget will look at ways to expand the set of methodologies used in evidence-based policies, incorporating knowledge of data science and social and behavioral sciences. Federal agencies should also reconsider their need to obtain advice or guidance from advisory bodies. The aim is to determine whether they need extra support from qualified experts and panels.