AERA Provides Comments on OSTP Request on Strengthening Federal Scientific Integrity Policies
AERA Provides Comments on OSTP Request on Strengthening Federal Scientific Integrity Policies

August 2021

On July 28, AERA submitted comments to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in response to a Request for Information (RFI) on improving federal scientific integrity policies. The RFI is intended to inform the Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee (SI-FTAC) in implementing the Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking.

The AERA comments responded to three areas where OSTP sought information regarding effective policies and practices that agencies could adopt to improve the communication of scientific and technological information, to address scientific issues and the scientific workforce, and to improve training of scientific staff about scientific integrity and the transparency into their scientific integrity practices.

The AERA comments encouraged OSTP to increase efforts to make research publications and data from federally funded research available, for purposes of research transparency and future research. The comments praised the work that federal agencies have taken on to increase equity in the scientific workforce, while also noting the need to ensure the independence of statistical and evaluation officers in implementing the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. On training, the comments noted the need for training in open science practices for federal research grantees.

“Integrity in research is essential to ensuring public trust in the data and scientific findings that are produced by federal agencies and from federally-funded researchers,” wrote AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “We appreciate OSTP’s actions to ensure that scientific integrity policies are in place and adhered to in the conduct of research and statistical collections done by or funded through federal agencies.”

In addition to the issues raised in the RFI, the AERA comments noted two areas that the SI-FTAC should take on in its work: continuing work to expand upon the 2013 memorandum Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research, and addressing needed appointments to the National Board for Education Sciences as part of its consideration of scientific advisory boards.