Scientific integrity is central to the mission and vision of SCBNA, and efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the integrity of science around the Covid 19 pandemic has prompted members of Congress and the Biden administration to take much-needed action on this issue. In March, SCB North America and fourteen other organizations signed a letter urging the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to support the Scientific Integrity Act. Reintroduced in February 2021, the Act would ensure scientists can carry out their research—and communicate it with the public—without fear of political pressure or retaliation. The Act requires that scientific conclusions are independent of political considerations or ideology. In addition, it would prohibit political appointees from manipulating scientific findings, or impeding the release and communication of those findings to the public through scientific journals or the media. Open The Government led the effort to bring the letter before the House committee, working alongside a coalition of science, conservation, research and accountability organizations.
Since taking office in January, President Biden has signaled a shift in federal government policy, creating a plan to strengthen scientific integrity and releasing an executive order to support science in policy-making (see this and other Executive Actions supported by SCB North America here). Action from Congress in passing the Scientific Integrity Act would establish a number of essential protections and policies that would stay in place through shifting presidential administrations and political appointees. SCB North America is encouraged by the re-emergence of scientific integrity as a high priority under the new administration and Congress, and looks forward to continuing to prioritize this issue through its policy program.
Through the work of its policy committee and members, SCB North America has long supported efforts to strengthen scientific integrity to ensure that the best available science is used to inform conservation actions and policies. The SCB North America Policy program (SNAP) focuses on this work, making progress through advocacy, policy recommendations, and fostering international communication by scientists. This work promotes biodiversity by making sure that conservation laws, from environmental impact assessments to forest and marine resource management, are implemented using the best possible science.