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First Scientific Integrity Officer appointed in addition to new Scientific Integrity Policy

The Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar unveiled a new policy to maintain the integrity of scientific and scholarly activities used in the Department of Interior’s decision making. The policy follows on the Memorandum to the Heads of Departments and Agencies on Scientific Integrity made last December on the issue.

“Because robust, high quality science and scholarship play such an important role in advancing the Department’s mission, it is vital that we have a strong and clear scientific integrity policy,” said Secretary Salazar.  “This policy sets forth clear expectations for all employees – political and career – to uphold the principles of scientific integrity, and establishes a process for impartial review of alleged breaches of those principles.” 

As part of the implementation of the new policy, Secretary Salazar announced the appointment of Dr. Ralph Morgenweck, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Senior Science Advisor, to serve as the Department’s first Scientific Integrity Officer.  In his new role as Departmental Science Integrity Office, Dr. Morgenweck will coordinate implementation of the new policy across Interior’s bureaus and offices.

Policy highlights include:

•Facilitate the free flow of scientific and scholarly information, consistent with privacy and classification standards, and in keeping with the Department’s Open Government Plan.
•Document the scientific and scholarly findings considered in decision making and ensure public access to that information and supporting data through established Departmental and Bureau procedures—except for information and data that are restricted from disclosure under procedures established in accordance with statute, regulation, Executive Order, or Presidential Memorandum.
•Ensure that the selection and retention of employees in scientific and scholarly positions or in positions that rely on the results of scientific and scholarly activities are based on the candidate’s integrity, knowledge, credentials, and experience relevant to the responsibility of the position.
•Ensure that public communications policies provide procedures by which scientists and scholars may speak to the media and the public about scientific and scholarly matters based on their official work and areas of expertise.  In no circumstance may public affairs officers ask or direct Federal scientists to alter scientific findings.
•Encourage the enhancement of scientific and scholarly integrity through appropriate, cooperative engagement with the communities of practice represented by professional societies and organizations.

For complete policy and appointment details, click here.

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