What's all the Fuss About Scientific Integrity?

August 11, 2014

One of the most important values in science is integrity—in fact, integrity could be thought of as the currency of science. Without integrity, you lose credibility with your colleagues and the community; your results become meaningless; your value as a scientist is diminished. Scientific Integrity is maintained when all of the building blocks of reputation and credibility are solid and uncompromised. A transgression in any of elements of these building blocks can undermine the credibility of individual scientists and potentially damage the reputation of the entire bureau or agency. The goal of the DOI policy on scientific integrity is to detect, and take corrective actions on issues before they become significant and potentially damaging to the scientists and/or agency. The policy does not just deal with the wreck that results when the scientific train has come off the tracks, it is designed to help prevent the derailment in the first place.

Alan Thornhill, Director of the Office of Science Quality and Integrity, and the Bureau Scientific Integrity Officer, U.S. Geological Survey