As President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-science administration prepares to swoop into Washington, D.C., outgoing Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz on Wednesday announced a new “scientific integrity policy” meant to protect workers and policies that may be at risk.
According to Moniz, who announced the policy in a Medium post and at a National Press Club speech, the policy makes clear that:
- Energy Department scientists are able to express their opinions;
- Energy Department scientists must get the opportunity to review department statements about their work; and
- Energy Department officials should not and will not ask scientists to tailor their work to particular conclusions.
“As a scientist and an American, I care deeply about scientific independence and integrity, because they are essential components of the scientific method,” Moniz wrote. “Evidence, observation, experiment, and analysis are the appropriate ways to test a hypothesis.”
The Verge reports that the policy “also requires the energy secretary—soon to be former Texas governor Rick Perry, who once said he wanted to shut down the department entirely—to appoint an ombudsman for scientific integrity.” And the new standards, which apply to contractors as well as DOE employees, allow scientists to publicly state their opinions on science and policy, as long as they make clear that they are not speaking for the government.
Michael Halpern, deputy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy, said the policy’s “language is strong and precise, giving scientists and science advocates a solid platform to stand on in pushing back against the manipulation and suppression of science and the harassment of scientists.”
The Verge reporter Angela Chen writes:
The Senate Energy Committee on Thursday set Perry’s confirmation hearing for January 19.
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