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Find Your Science at GSA
11 February 2011
GSA Release No. 11-11
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
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Science and Scientific Integrity Advance at U.S. Department of the Interior

Boulder, CO, USA - Science and scientific integrity advanced through the combination of two recent developments at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), according to Geological Society of America (GSA) President Joaquin Ruiz. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued a new five-year strategic plan that for the first time elevates science to one of five mission areas for the entire department. The Interior Department also adopted a comprehensive scientific integrity policy that sets clear expectations for all employees, including political appointees, public affairs officers, and scientists. “These developments are cause for optimism because they emphasize the critical importance of science and demand the utmost integrity in its conduct and application,” said Ruiz.

GSA helped elevate science to a mission area in the final version of the Interior Department's new strategic plan. Science was not included as a mission area in the draft strategic plan that was released for public comment in 2009. GSA's statement to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on 11 November 2009 stated, "The Department of the Interior can help President Obama achieve his goal of 'restoring science to its rightful place' by elevating science to a mission area in its new strategic plan." Secretary Salazar echoed this sentiment when he announced the final version of the strategic plan on 26 January 2011, "This new strategic plan ensures science has its rightful place as a primary source for the Interior Department's decision making process.”

View details of the new scientific integrity policy, included as Chapter 3 in the DOI Departmental Manual, at “GSA is pleased with the inclusiveness of the policy, which covers virtually everyone using scientific and scholarly information in relation to the Department of the Interior,” said Ruiz. “In addition, the policy clarifies and documents the ability of federal scientists to serve their professional societies on boards and advisory committees. This is extremely important, both to the societies who benefit from their expertise, and also for the career advancement of scientists working in the federal government.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior includes the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Surface Mining, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. The US Geological Survey is one of the nation’s premier science agencies.

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 23,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 97 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.