. 01 To promote a continuing culture of scienti fic excellence and integrity, and to establish a policy on the integrity of scientific activities that the agency conducts and uses to inform management and policy decisions. In addition, the intent of the policy is to strengthen widespread confidence - from scientists, to decision-makers, to the general public - in the quality, validity, and reliability of NOAA science and to denote the agency's commitment to a culture of support for excellence of NOAA's principal science asset, its employees.
Achieving these purposes requires commitment from scientists, their managers, and those who use scientific results to set policy. Therefore, this Order also establishes reciprocal responsibilities among all three groups through a Code of Scientific Conduct and Code of Ethics for Science Supervision and Management for NOAA employees and contractors who conduct, supervise, assess, or interpret scientific information for the use of NOAA, the Department of Commerce, and the Nation.
.02 The Procedural Handbook to this Order establishes processes for responding to allegations of misconduct. The Procedural Handbook has the full force and authority of this NOAA Administrative Order (NAO).
.03 Future guidance and resources related to scientific integrity and the implementation of this NAO will be made available to staff and the public on the Scientific Integrity Commons website at http://nrc.noaa.gov/scientificintegrity.html.
01 To achieve its purposes, this Order will:
.02 This Order applies to:
.03 Recipients of NOAA financial assistance awards, including NOAA Cooperative Institutes, as well as other NOAA research partners and collaborators are responsible for abiding by the principles contained in this Order regarding NOAA's commitment to Scientific Integrity, as specified in award agreements or in other written agreements with NOAA.
.04 This Order is in addition to and does not alter the requirements applicable to the specific activities, topics, and persons that are explicitly covered by other applicable federal statutes, regulations, or policy directives, or by other NOAA or Department of Commerce administrative orders, such as but not limited to:
.05 This Order shall not be interpreted to conflict with the rights of an employee under the law, including:
Additionally, this Order shall not be interpreted to conflict with any rights accorded a union representative under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act when communicating as a union representative.
Any written or oral statement or other indication of possible scientific misconduct made to a NOAA employee or contractor, or to an employee of a NOAA research partner.
Research bias, also called experimenter bias, is a process where the scientist(s) performing the research influence the results in order to produce a certain outcome. 3
Any financial or non-financial interest which conflicts with the actions or judgments of an individual when conducting scientific activities because it:
Employees who may:
Making up data or scientific results and recording or reporting them for the purposes of deception. 4
Manipulating research materials, equipment, processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record. 5
Any matter affecting a personal financial interest or a financial interest imputed to the individual (including, but not limited to, the individual's spouse and any entity for which the individual serves in a personal capacity as an officer or board member, such as due to fiduciary duties to the organization under state law). 6
The complete definition of "Fundamental Research Communication" is found in DAO 219-1, available at http://www.osec.doc.gov/opog/dmp/daos/dao219_1.html.
A brief definition is: Public communication prepared as part of the employee's official work regarding the products of basic or applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community. Matters of policy, budget, or management are not considered Fundamental Research Communications.
Individual participation in a matter where one of the parties has, or is represented by someone with whom the individual has, a covered relationship (including, but not limited to, a spouse's employer and any entity for which the individual is actively involved in a personal capacity). 7
The appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. 8
Research is systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. 9
Science at NOAA is the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the ocean, coasts, Great Lakes, atmosphere, and their related ecosystems, including people; and the integration of research, analysis, observations, monitoring, and environmental modeling, or subsets of those and related fields of study. NOAA science includes discoveries and ever new understanding of the oceans and atmosphere and their intimate relationship to humans and the application of this understanding to such issues as the causes and consequences of climate change, the physical dynamics of high-impact weather events, the dynamics of complex ecosystems and biodiversity, and the ability to model and forecast the future states of natural and human systems.
Science provides the fundamental basis of the service and stewardship elements of NOAA's mission. 10
Activities that involve inventorying, monitoring, observations, experimentation, study, research, integration, modeling, and scientific assessment.
Scientific activities are conducted in a manner specified by standard protocols and procedures and include any of the physical, biological, or social sciences, as well as engineering and mathematics, or any combination of these.
Evaluation of a body of scientific or technical knowledge that typically synthesizes multiple factual inputs, data, models, and assumptions, and implies the use of best professional judgment to bridge uncertainties in the available information.
The condition resulting from adherence to professional values and practices when conducting and applying the results of science that ensures objectivity, clarity, and reproducibility, and that provides insulation from bias, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, interference, censorship, and inadequate procedural and information security.
Presentation of the results of scientific activities including the analysis, synthesis, compilation, or translation of scientific information and data into formats for the use of NOAA, the Department of Commerce, or the Nation.
The ability to discover by going backward over the evidence step by step.
Characterized by visibility or accessibility of information (the quality or state ofbeing transparent).
.01 NOAA is an organization based upon science, scientific research, and providing and using scientific advice for decision-making. NOAA recognizes a clear distinction between the scientific process and the policy decisions made based on the results of science. NOAA's ability to achieve its strategic vision of "healthy ecosystems, communities, and economies that are resilient in the face of change" relies on transparency, traceability, and scientific integrity at all levels. Transparency, traceability, and integrity are, therefore, core values of our organization and the reason for issuing this Order. The principles described in the paragraphs below constitute NOAA policy .
02 NOAA scientists are expected to be cognizant of and understand the statutes and any other mandates that guide their work.
.03 NOAA scientists are encouraged to publish data and findings in ways that contribute to the effective transparency and dissemination ofNOAA science and that enhance NOAA's reputation for reliable science, including online in open formats and through peer-reviewed, professional, or scholarly journals. Development and dissemination of scientific and technical products must be consistent with NOAA policies and procedures related to peer review, the Open Government Directive (Office of Management and Budget, 2009b ), NOAA's information quality guidelines, 11 and other legislative and policy mandates.
04 In response to media interview requests to the Agency about the scientific and technological dimensions ofNOAA's work, NOAA will offer knowledgeable spokespersons who can, in an objective, nonpartisan and articulate fashion, describe and explain these dimensions to the media and the American people .
05 To be open and transparent about their work, and consistent with DAO 219-1 on (Public Communications) and their official duties, NOAA scientists may freely speak to the media and the public about scientific and technical matters based on their official work, including scientific and technical ideas, approaches, findings, and conclusions based on their official work. Additional guidance for employees is available in DAO 219-1. 12 Communication by email or other electronic means in response to inquiries from the media, and concerning scientific or technical matters based on an employee's official work, are considered to be the same as oral communication and not subject to approval, but are still subject to the restrictions on protected non-public information set forth in DAO 219-1. Social media communications are governed by the Department of Commerce Policy on the Approval and Use of Social Media and Web 2.0, 13 as well as DAO 219-1. 14
.06 NOAA scientists are free to present viewpoints, for example about policy or management matters, that extend beyond their scientific findings to incorporate their expert or personal opinions, but in doing so they must make clear that they are presenting their individual opinions- not the views ofthe Department of Commerce or NOAA. In such cases, NOAA personnel may also note their NOAA affiliation as part of their biographical information, provided that their NOAA affiliation is noted as one of several biographical details, or, if the information is being published in a scientific or technical journal, their NOAA affiliation may be listed with an appropriate disclaimer. Appropriate disclaimers for use by NOAA scientists when expressing such opinions will be posted to the Scientific Integrity Commons website.
. 07 NOAA recognizes that scientific leadership is critical to advance its mission and the professional development and stature of its scientists and engineers and therefore encourages and supports its researchers to become scientific leaders. NOAA also encourages its scientists, consistent with Federal ethics laws and regulations, to engage with their peers in academic, industry, governmental, and non-governmental organizations by:
. 08 NOAA supports the election or appointment of its scientists and engineers to fellowships or positions in professional organizations, including as officers and on governing boards, subject to applicable ethics requirements and Department of Commerce policy. According to Department of Commerce policy, NOAA employees may generally serve in their personal capacity as officers and on governing boards of outside organizations or in their official capacity as a government liaison. Service in an official capacity on a governing board or as an officer of an outside organization is subject to restrictions under ethics laws; 15 employees should consult an ethics official before accepting an appointment on behalf of NOAA to such a position.
. 09 NOAA supports recognizing the outstanding science conducted by its employees and authorizes its scientists to accrue the professional benefits of any honors and awards for their research and discoveries, subject to applicable law, with the goal of minimizing, to the extent practicable, disparities in the potential for private-sector and public-sector scientists and engineers to accrue the professional benefits of such honors or awards.
.10 To establish a culture of transparency, integrity, and ethical behavior among its employees NOAA will use a combination of policy, opportunities for training, and open communications, both internally and with the public. NOAA commits to:
. 01 All staff identified in Section 2.02 must uphold the fundamental Principles of Scientific Integrity, the Code of Scientific Conduct, and the Code of Ethics for Science Supervision and Management outlined in this Order.
02 NOAA recognizes the importance of scientific activity and the information it produces to maintain and enhance its effectiveness and to establish credibility and value with the public, both nationally and internationally. NOAA will preserve the integrity of the scientific activities it conducts, and activities that are conducted on its behalf. It will not tolerate loss of integrity in the performance of scientific activities or in the application of science in decision-making. To that end, NOAA will:
. 03 Recipients of NOAA financial assistance awards: As provided in Section M.IO ofthe Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions 16 and supplemental award terms, as applicable, recipient organizations have the primary responsibility for:
NOAA recipients are also required to follow all Codes of Conduct as stated in Section J of the Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions. NOAA Cooperative and Joint Institutes are further subject to the rules and guidelines stated in the NOAA Cooperative Institute Handbook. 17 In cases of joint or collaborative Federal funding, NOAA and the other Federal agencies funding the award(s) may, as agreed upon, jointly investigate any allegations of scientific or research misconduct.
.04 NOAA protects those who uncover and report allegations of scientific and research misconduct, as well as those accused of scientific and research misconduct in the absence of a finding of misconduct, from prohibited personnel practices (as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)).
.01 All NOAA employees and contractors identified in Section 2.02 and all NOAA financial assistance award recipients and other NOAA research partners and collaborators identified in Section 2.03 will, to the best of their ability, be:
. 01 NOAA science managers and supervisors identified in Section 2.02 will adhere to the guidelines for Scientific Integrity established in the March 9, 2009, Presidential Memo to Heads ofthe Executive Departments and Agencies and this Order. Specifically, science managers and supervisors will ensure:
.02 All individuals identified in Section 2.02 of this Order must not:
Any such interference will be considered a violation of this section: NOAA's Code of Ethics for Science Supervision and Management.
.03 Decisions to approve or not approve a Fundamental Research Communication must be based only on whether the work is scientifically meritorious: specifically, whether the methods used are clear and appropriate; the presentation of results and conclusions is impartial; and there are no apparent, actual, or potential conflicts of interest. Consistent with DAO 219-1, the approval or non-approval of a Fundamental Research Communication cannot be based on the policy, budget, or management implications of the research. Differences of opinion will be resolved by through the NOAA-wide framework for review and approval of Fundamental Research Communications consistent with DAO 219-1.
.04 The NOAA Research Council will develop a NOAA-wide framework for peer review and approval of Fundamental Research Communications consistent with the criteria in 7.03. Each Line Office will develop and document procedures for review and approval consistent with the Research Council's framework. The procedures must include time limits for review and approval, and procedures for redress if the time limits are not met. The framework and procedures will be posted on the Scientific Integrity Commons website.
.05 NOAA science managers and supervisors will immediately report suspected cases of scientific or research misconduct through means established under Section 8 and the Procedural Handbook for this Order.
.01 Scientific and Research Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing scientific and research activities, or in the products or reporting ofthese activities. Scientific and Research Misconduct specifically includes:
.02 Procedures for lodging and responding to allegations of misconduct are provided in the Procedural Handbook to this Order.
.01 Statutes, Regulations, and Policies
.01 The NOAA Research Council, or its designee, will be responsible for the communication and oversight of this policy, as well as for periodic review and revisions of the policy.
.02 The NOAA Research Council will communicate these policies and procedures both internally to NOAA employees and contractors, and to NOAA partners, recipients of financial assistance awards, and others involved in external research.
.03 The NOAA Research Council will maintain the Scientific Integrity Commons website at http://nrc.noaa.gov/scientificintegrity.html, where it will post a general statement of the NOAA Scientific Integrity Policy. The Council will also ensure that the policy is referenced, as appropriate, in financial assistance award solicitations, requests for proposals and in the terms and conditions of resulting financial assistance awards and contracts, and communicated to individuals either involved in peer review panels evaluating proposals to NOAA grants programs and cooperative agreements or evaluating internal NOAA scientific programs and activities.
.04 NOAA's Chief Scientist, in consultation with the Deputy Under Secretary for Operations (DUS/0), will provide annual public reporting, through a NOAA website, of the aggregate number of misconduct cases, the areas of concern (e.g., climate science, fisheries management, financial, contracting, etc.), the affiliation of the individuals involved (i.e., federal employees, contractors, partners, and recipients of financial assistance awards), how many accusations were investigated, and the number of findings of misconduct. If the position of Chief Scientist is vacant, the Under Secretary will assign this responsibility to another high-level official with scientific expertise within NOAA.
.05 The NOAA Research Council will review the policy at least every two years to ensure that it is current and effective in relation to its purpose as stated in Section 1.
This document supersedes NAO 202-7350, "Scientific Misconduct" effective November 7 1990.
An electronic copy of this Order will be posted in place of the superseded Order on the NOAA Office of the Chief Administrative Officer website under the NOAA Administrative Issuances Section at http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/ocao.
Office of Primary Interest:
Office of the Under Secretary
NOAA Office of General Counsel (GC)
U.S. Department of Commerce Office of General Counsel
1 The Departmental Administrative Order (DAO) 219-1, "Public Communications," does not apply to employees in bargaining units represented by the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
2 Dr. John P. Holdren's Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Scientific Integrity, issued on December 17,2010, states: "In addition, the Director ofthe Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be issuing guidance to OMB staff concerning the review of draft executive branch testimony on scientific issues prepared for presentation to the Congress. That guidance will provide standards that are to be applied during the review of scientific testimony."
3 See Martyn Shuttleworth, Research Bias, EXPERIMENT RESOURCES (2009), http://www.experiment-resources.com/research-bias.html.
4 See Federal Policy on Research Misconduct, 65 Fed. Reg. 76,260, 76,262 (Dec. 6, 2000).
5 See Federal Policy on Research Misconduct, 65 Fed. Reg. 76,260, 76,262 (Dec. 6, 2000).
6 See 18 U.S.C. § 208. This definition will be applied consistent with any rule issued by U.S. Office of Government Ethics permitting the appointment of Federal employees to serve in their official capacities on the boards of directors and as officers of nonprofit organizations, including scientific organizations professional societies, and similar bodies that are actively involved in matters under the jurisdiction of the Department. See 76 Fed. Reg. 24816 (May 3, 2011).
7 See 5 C.F.R. § 2635.502(b).
8 See Federal Policy on Research Misconduct, 65 Fed. Reg. 76,260, 76,262 (Dec. 6, 2000).
9 See National Science Foundation Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/randdef/fedgov.cfm#gs.
10 Adapted from NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan, p. 3 (Dec. 2010), http://www.ppi.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/NOAA_NGSP.pdf
11 NOAA Information Quality and Peer Review Guidelines are available on the NOAA website at http://www.cio.noaa.gov/Policy_Programs/info_quality.html. Additional peer review guidance will be made available to employees through the NOAA Scientific Integrity Commons website.
12 DAO 219-1, "Public Communications" (April 30, 2008), http://www.osec.doc.gov/opog/dmp/daos/dao219_1.html.
13 Department of Commerce Policy on the Approval and Use of Social Media and Web 2.0 (Oct. 21, 2010), http://www.osec.doc.gov/webresources/socialmedia.
14 The Departmental Administrative Order (DAO) 219-1, "Public Communications," and Department of Commerce Policy on the Approval and Use of Social Media and Web 2.0 do not apply to employees in bargaining units represented by the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
15 The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has published a proposed rule that would create a government-wide exemption to 18 U.S.C. 208. See 76 Fed. Reg. 24816 (May 3 2011). The exemption would permit the appointment of Federal employees to serve on the boards of directors and as officers of nonprofit organizations, including scientific organizations, professional societies, and similar bodies that are actively involved in matters under the jurisdiction of the Department. DOC and NOAA support this proposed rule.
16 Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions (March 2008), http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/Library/OMI/Grants/PresentPolicy/DOC_ST&C05.pdf.
17 NOAA Cooperative Institute Handbook (Dec. 2005), http://www.nrc.noaa.gov/ci/policy/docs/handbook.pdf.
18 NOAA supports the Principles of Integrity set forth in the Singapore Statement developed in September 2010. We have directly adopted the Singapore Statement Principles as the categories for our Code of Scientific Conduct. Similarly, the responsibilities outlined in the Singapore Statement have also greatly helped inform our work on this document. For more information on the Singapore Statement and the World Conference on Research Integrity, please see http://www.singaporestatement.org.