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NASA Science Policies and Reports


NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library

Scientific Integrity

NASA’s longstanding commitment to scientific integrity is exemplified in recent years by the Agency’s compliance with legislative and executive direction including, but not limited to, memoranda from the Executive Office of the President and the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in 2009 and 2010, respectively. In January 2021, the Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policy Making established a Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee (SI-FTAC), leading to a report setting forth best practices for fostering a culture of scientific integrity within the United States Government. In September 2022, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) chartered a standing Subcommittee on Scientific Integrity (SOSI) as a follow-on to the FTAC, and SOSI issued a framework for implementing the FTAC’s recommended best practices in early 2023.

NASA’s most recent revision to its scientific integrity policy, completed in April of 2024, responds to and complies with the SOSI framework. NASA adopts the definition of scientific integrity from the framework: “Scientific integrity is the adherence to principles of honesty, objectivity, and transparency; professional practices; and ethical behavior when conducting, managing, using the results of, and communicating about science and scientific activities. Inclusivity and protection from inappropriate influence are hallmarks of scientific integrity.” Note that the terms research integrity and scientific integrity are not interchangeable. The former focuses on the actual conduct of scientific research, and is a subset of the latter, which also encompasses the use of scientific information and results in communications, management, and policymaking.

NASA’s scientific integrity policy is codified in two separate documents. The first is NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 1920.1 that contains high-level, low-detail policy statements. It points to the second document, which is NASA Advisory Implementation Instruction (NAII) 1920.1, a 43-page document with all the detailed guidance. It is the NAII that captures all the elements of the FTAC and SOSI deliverables.

NASA Scientific Integrity Policy: NASA Policy Directive 1920.1

NASA Guidelines for Promoting Scientific and Research Integrity: NASA Advisory Implementation Instruction 1920.1, April 2024

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