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Programs of the Office of the Science Advisor (OSA)

Products and Publications Related to Scientific Coordination Produced by the Office of the Science Advisor

Products Related To Peer Review

High quality scientific and technical information enables EPA and stakeholders alike to effectively participate in assessing and managing human health and environmental risks. OSA oversees Agency efforts to develop and implement peer review procedures and approaches for EPA staff and managers.

Peer Review Handbook

Peer review is the evaluation of a product by independent experts in that field who were not involved in that product's development. It is a critical tool used by EPA to ensure that only high-quality, verified science is released or used by the Agency. The Peer Review Handbook (2015) is a how-to manual that is used by staff across EPA and is often referred to by external stakeholders as a model of good peer review practices.  

View items below on the Handbook, including the Office of Management and Budget's provisions for Peer Review:

Policy and Memo

Supporting the Handbook, the Peer Review Policy (and memo signed by the Administrator in 2006) established the EPA's policy for peer review of scientifically and technically based work products that are intended to inform Agency decisions. Both the Policy and Handbook benefit from insights gained from:

  • Implementing the program over the last decade
  • Strengthening the explanation of ethical standards
  • Incorporating the provisions of OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review 

Bulletin and Agenda

The Office of Management and Budget Bulletin contains provisions for the conduct of peer review at all federal agencies in order to enhance transparency and accountability and applies to "influential scientific information," including "highly influential scientific assessments." The Bulletin requires federal agencies to conduct peer reviews of influential scientific information before it is disseminated to the public and to post Peer Review Agendas on their Web sites. The Peer Review Agenda lists highly influential scientific information that were peer reviewed during a fiscal year.

Requirements from the Bulletin

The Bulletin defines "influential scientific information" as "scientific information the agency reasonably can determine will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or private sector decisions." The Bulletin establishes minimum peer review requirements for all non-exempt influential scientific information. It imposes the strictest requirements on "highly influential scientific assessments" (HISA).

Contractor-Managed Peer Review Process

In March 2013, EPA strengthened its contractor-managed peer review process to address any actual or potential conflicts of interest with regard to peer review panels for Influential Scientific Information (ISI) or Highly Influential Scientific Assessments (HISA) products. For these products, peer review panel membership is now subject to public comment in order to increase transparency.

Assessment Factors Guidance

Assessment Factors are intended to raise the awareness of the information-generating public about EPA's ongoing interest in ensuring and enhancing the quality of information available for Agency use. The Assessment Factors document results from the work of the Assessment Factors Workgroup, established by the Science and Technology Policy Council (STPC), to describe the assessment factors and considerations usually used by the Agency when evaluating the quality of scientific and technical information. 

Since these factors were identified from existing Agency guidelines, practices and procedures, they do not describe a new process for evaluating information. They provide an explicit elucidation of the general assessment factors that the Agency typically uses in evaluating the quality of such information.

Products Related To Environmental Technology

2012 Technology Market Summit

Jointly sponsored by EPA and American University, the 2012 Technology Market Summit brought together decision makers from:

  • Government
  • Industry
  • Academia
  • Investment

Summit attendees worked to accelerate the development and adoption of technologies to achieve economic growth through environmental protection.

Technology Innovation for Environmental and Economic Progress: An EPA Roadmap

In 2012, EPA published a roadmap document on Technology Innovation to advance the EPA's efforts to look at a broad range of approaches to solving the country's most pressing current environmental problems and preventing future ones. View more information on the Technology Summit and EPA Roadmap:

Scientific Collections


Background

EPA develops, maintains, and archives scientific collections to support the Agency's mission of protecting human health and the environment. EPA's scientific collections contribute to advancing the Agency mission by providing a source of scientific study for determining the presence, concentration, and trends of toxic chemicals in air, soil, water and entire ecosystems and their effects on human health and the environment. EPA currently has eight scientific collections. 

For information about scientific collections owned and/or managed by US Federal Government Departments and Agencies please refer to US Federal Scientific Collections Registry.  The Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections maintains a clearinghouse for federal agency documents related to scientific collections (e.g., agency policies, best practices, and standard operating procedures).

EPA defines a scientific collection as a set of living or inanimate physical objects, and as appropriate and feasible the associated specimen data and material, that is created for the purpose of supporting science, and is preserved, cataloged, and managed as a long-term research asset rather than for its market value as a collectible or its historical, artistic, or cultural significance. For a detailed description of the definition please refer to the EPA Scientific Collections Policy.

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Policy

EPA's Scientific Collection Policy was created to improve the development, management, accessibility, legal and ethical use, and long-term preservation of scientific collections that the Agency owns, directly manages, or financially supports.

Products Related to EPA's Laboratory Enterprise

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