A bill introduced to the US House of Representatives aims to bolster scientific integrity, but Undark reports it has a number of obstacles to clear before it can become law.
The bill, HR 1709 the Scientific Integrity Act, was introduced last March and was passed by the House science committee in October. It calls for changes to America COMPETES Act to require federal agencies that fund, perform, or over scientific research to establish scientific integrity policies.
Currently, Undark notes that while some federal agencies have scientific integrity policies in place, not all do, and even those that do have such policies, the policies are of varying qualities, leading to a "patchwork," as Michael Halpern from the Union of Concerned Scientists tells Undark. He adds that those policies could be "rescinded or weakened at any time." Government officials, Undark adds, have interfered with federal researchers, citing instances from both the Trump and Obama administrations.
While this bill has passed the House science committee, it still has to pass the full House and Senate, and Undark says its chances might be hampered by a lack of support from Republican lawmakers, as only two of the 230 sponsors of the House bill are Republicans. But, it notes that the bill might benefit from a recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law that called for new scientific integrity standards