Scientific Integrity at EPA
On This Page:
- What is Scientific Integrity?
- Why is Scientific Integrity Important?
- Principles of Scientific Integrity
- Executive Branch Reaffirms Commitment to Scientific Integrity
- History of the Development of EPA's Scientific Integrity Policy
- Scientific Integrity Committee
Scientific integrity at EPA is the responsibility of every employee, contractor, grantee, volunteer and collaborator who conducts, utilizes, supervises, manages, communicates, or influences scientific activities. The Scientific Integrity Policy exists against a complicated regulatory backdrop. For example, the Scientific Integrity Policy works in conjunction with policies and procedures for addressing research misconduct, information quality, quality assurance, and peer review. The policy also works in conjunction with statutes such as the Freedom of Information Act and Federal Advisory Committee Act.
Scientific integrity results from adherence to professional values and practices, when conducting and applying the results of science and scholarship. It ensures:
Scientific integrity is important because it provides insulation from:
- Outside interference
- Inadequate procedural and information security
- Scientific integrity helps to build public support. People are more likely to support the Agency if they can trust the quality and integrity of its work.
- Scientific integrity, along with federal policies on research misconduct, conflicts of interest, and transparency help to ensure that EPA employees, contractors, and grantees can be held accountable to the public.
- Since EPA research often involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination among many different people in different disciplines and institutions, scientific integrity promotes the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, and fairness. For example, data sharing policies, and confidentiality rules in peer review are designed to protect intellectual property interests while encouraging collaboration.
- Scientific integrity promotes the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error. For example, prohibitions against fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and avoid error.
- Finally, scientific integrity promotes a variety of other important moral and social values, such as compliance with the law, and health and safety.
In 1999, the Agency published its Principles of Scientific Integrity, developed in conjunction with the EPA's National Partnership Council, which was comprised of representatives of Agency labor unions and management. The Principles laid out the basic rules for ethical behavior by all EPA employees in:
- Conducting scientific research
- Interpreting and presenting results
- Using scientific information and data
Training was also made available at that time on the Scientific Integrity Principles.
On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued a Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, which emphasizes the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making evidence-based decisions and developing policies and programs that are guided by the best available scientific data.
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued the Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis. The Executive Order affirms that “… the Federal Government must be guided by the best science and be protected by processes that ensure the integrity of Federal decision-making.”
While EPA's Scientific Integrity Policy dates from 2012, EPA has a long history of attention to scientific integrity. Many EPA administrators have addressed integrity and transparency in memos to the Agency. Administrator William Ruckelshaus drafted a memo in 1983 establishing a culture of integrity, which was followed in 1989 with one by Administrator William Reilly and another in 1993 by Administrator Carol Browner. In 1999, the National Partnership Council of EPA released their Principles of Scientific Integrity. A March 2009 Executive Memorandum directed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop a plan aimed at ensuring the integrity of federal science.
In May 2009 Administrator Lisa Jackson released a memorandum that declared "Science must be the compass guiding our environmental protection decisions.…While the laws that EPA implements leave room for policy judgments, the scientific findings on which these judgments are based should be arrived at independently using well-established scientific methods, including peer review, to assure rigor, accuracy, and impartiality."
A 2009 Executive Memorandum expressed the need for robust science to inform and guide decisions by Executive Branch departments and agencies. Shortly after this, the Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a memorandum to all EPA employees in which she emphasized that science must be the compass guiding the EPA's environmental protection decisions and that the Agency cannot make the best decisions unless it has confidence in the integrity of the science on which it relies.
In December 2010, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) provided guidance for the development of scientific integrity policies by federal agencies. The guidelines require agencies and departments to create or improve policies related to:
- Foundations of scientific integrity in government
- Public communications
- Use of federal advisory committees
- Professional development of scientists and engineers
Acknowledging differences in structure and degree of regulatory responsibility, agencies and departments were given some latitude in developing their policies.
In response to OSTP, EPA convened an ad hoc scientific integrity working group, with members from across the Agency. A few months later, EPA released its draft policy for public comment. All of the public comments were considered and, in combination with discussions with other Federal agencies, contributed to an improved final policy, which was released in February 2012.
EPA's Scientific Integrity Policy builds upon EPA's significant earlier scientific integrity efforts, focusing on the:
- Promotion of a culture of scientific integrity throughout the EPA
- Release of scientific information to the public
- Consistent use of peer review and federal advisory committees
- Professional development of government scientists
The Scientific Integrity Policy also established a Scientific Integrity Committee to provide oversight for its implementation. The committee, led by the Scientific Integrity Official, encourages consistent Policy implementation and further bolsters the EPA's broader efforts to ensure the integrity of the Agency's scientific, engineering, and other technical work.
The Scientific Integrity Policy establishes a Scientific Integrity Committee to implement the policy. The committee consists of Deputy Scientific Integrity Officials that represent each of the Agency's Program Offices and Regions. The Scientific Integrity Official (ScIO) chairs the Committee. The ScIO is the Agency's focal point on scientific integrity and serves as the Agency's expert on such matters.
Scientific Integrity Official and Committee Chair
Francesca T. Grifo
Deputy Scientific Integrity Official
|Office of the Administrator||Wes Carpenter||Carpenter.Wesley@epa.gov|
|Office of the Administrator - Office of Children's Health Protection||Jeanne Briskin||Briskin.Jeanne@epa.gov|
|Office of the Administrator - Office of Policy||Al McGartland||McGartland.Al@epa.gov|
|Office of the Administrator - Science Advisory Board||Tom Brennan||Brennan.Thomas@epa.gov|
|Office of Air and Radiation||Betsy Shaw||Shaw.Betsy@epa.gov|
|Office of the Chief Financial Officer||David Bloom||Bloom.David@epa.gov|
|Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention||Pending|
|Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance||Erica Canzler||Canzler.Erica@epa.gov|
|Office of General Counsel||Helen Serassio||Serassio.Helen@epa.gov|
|Office of International and Tribal Affairs||Martin Dieu||Dieu.Martin@epa.gov|
|Office of Land and Emergency Management||Barry Breen||Breen.Barry@epa.gov|
|Office of Mission Support||Lynnann Hitchensemail@example.com|
|Office of Research and Development||Bruce Rodanfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Office of Water||Benita Best-Wong||Best-Wong.Benita@epa.gov|
|Region 1||Johanna Hunter||Hunter.Johanna@epa.gov|
|Region 2||Anahita Williamson||Williamson.Anahita@epa.gov|
|Region 3||Bill Jenkinsemail@example.com|
|Region 4||John Blevins||Blevins.John@epa.gov|
|Region 5||Carole Bravermanfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Region 6||David (Wes) McQuiddy||Mcquiddy.David@epa.gov|
|Region 7||Cecilia Tapia||Tapia.Cecilia@epa.gov|
|Region 8||Sandra Spence||Spence.Sandra@epa.gov|
|Region 9||Duane James||James.Duane@epa.gov|
|Region 10||Michael Szerlog||Szerlog.Michael@epa.gov|