Hints at NIST’s Scientific Integrity Policy?

August ought to be declared Scientific Integrity Month…somewhere.  No new official policies (draft or otherwise) to report, but in preparing yesterday’s post on a Department of Commerce memo on scientific integrity, I stumbled upon this summary report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  NIST is an agency of the Department of Commerce, and this summary report was first posted online in late May.

The report is an excellent snapshot of what NIST is doing to ensure the quality and durability of its research.  While this is just one component of scientific integrity policies (or should be just one component), the level of detail NIST goes to reflects its history as the U.S. agency for standards, weights and measures.  Though I suppose I shouldn’t be, I was pleasantly surprised to see mention of NIST researchers lab notebooks in this report.  If there’s any U.S. science and technology agency that will lead the field in record-keeping, it will be NIST.

As for communications with the public, the summary report defers to the Department of Commerce administrative order about communications (DAO-219-1), which I discussed in more detail yesterday.  It’s very open to scientists communicating research findings to the public and the media without much, if any, notification to agency communications staff (so long as researchers are clear that they are not communicating official agency positions.

My mildly informed speculation is that we already know many of the pieces in NIST’s forthcoming policy, outside of any processes required for compliance and oversight.


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