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USDA Scientific Integrity Policy Scores “Top Grade” in New Report

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Jay Evans and postdoctoral research associate Ryan Schwarz use a microscope to look at spores of the honey bee fungal parasite Nosema ceranae

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Jay Evans and postdoctoral research associate Ryan Schwarz use a microscope to look at spores of the honey bee fungal parasite Nosema ceranae, which can replicate in cells lining the honey bee gut on Oct. 25, 2011. Photo by Stephen Ausmus.

“Top grade,” “strong,” “substantially strengthened,” and “significantly improved,” may sound like reviews you might read about consumer products such as smart phones or televisions. However, these are the actual terms used by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in its recent review of USDA’s updated Scientific Integrity Policy.

In a January 2017 report titled “Preserving Scientific Integrity in Federal Policymaking,” the UCS – a noted organization that represents the interests of the scientific community – gave USDA’s updated Scientific Integrity Policy (or SIP, for short) the highest rating assigned in a three-tiered rating system.  Additionally, based on USDA’s release of a new procedural manual to accompany the SIP, USDA was one of only five federal departments or agencies (out of 18 reviewed) to receive a “strong” rating for its procedures for responding to scientific integrity concerns. Read more »