The Secretary of Interior issued a new Science Integrity Order yesterday, which directs Department of Interior (DOI) employees, both political and career, to never suppress or alter, without new scientific or technological evidence, scientific or technological findings or conclusions. Further, DOI employees will not be coerced to alter or censure scientific findings, and employees will be protected if they uncover and report scientific misconduct by career or political staff.
The policy is receiving generally favorable reaction, although it has not been codified into enforceable regulations.
The Secretary’s Order is an expansion of a draft DOI manual policy released in August with a public comment period ending September 20. A sticking point for critics of the draft policy was that it did not cover political appointees if they alter scientific documents. Yesterday’s order seems to address those concerns.