New Guidelines on the Use of Scientific Information Issued by OMB

Silencing Science Tracker

New Guidelines on the Use of Scientific Information Issued by OMB

On April 24, 2019, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum setting out new guidelines on the use of “influential scientific, financial, or statistical information” by federal agencies. The memorandum indicates that, when using scientific information to support their policies, agencies should make the research and data underlying that information publicly available. The memorandum states:

“[I]nfluential analysis must be disseminated with sufficient descriptions of data and methods to allow them to be reproduced by qualified third parties who may want to test the sensitivity of agency analyses . . .

Agencies should . . . communicate to the public sufficient information on the characteristics of the data and analysis, including its scope (e.g., temporal and demographic), generation protocols, and any other information necessary to allow the public to reproduce the agencies conclusions . . .

Agencies should prioritize increased access to the data and analytical frameworks (e.g., models) used to generate influential information.”

Critics have expressed concern that the memorandum could have the effect of restricting federal agencies’ access to, and use of, scientific information because many of the studies they currently rely on are based on confidential data that cannot be published. They note that the memorandum appears to be intended to achieve same goals as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed “science transparency rule,” which would have prevented the agency using scientific studies based on non-public data in rulemakings. That rule was heavily criticized, including by former top EPA officials, who emphasized that:

“Some of [the] studies [at issue], particularly those that determine the effects of exposure to chemicals and pollution on health, rely on medical records that by law are confidential because of patient privacy policies. These studies summarize the analysis of raw data and draw conclusions based on that analysis. Other government agencies also use studies like these to develop policy and regulations, and to buttress and defend rules against legal challenges. They are, in fact, essential to making sound public policy.”

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  • john oconnell says:

    Thank you

  • Kevin Ward says:

    Positive endeavors

  • Paolo Mattiuz says:

    Congratulations for your corageous initiative; it is so sad to become aware that even in the most “democratic” Country of the planet, the scientific method is feared and fought by the establishment.
    Here in Italy, scientific research has almost no funds and has been neglected since decades. The result is that we are falling into a “middle-age attitude” 🙁
    So, go ahead and all the best!!

  • Frederick Stoss, MS, MLS says:

    Will you be expanding coverage to issues other than climate change, such as toxic and chemical wastes (CERCLA/Superfund), water pollution/quality, and agriculture? These would be additional areas where public concerns are high.

    • sabinadmin2 says:

      The tracker covers both climate and other environmental scientists. Entries labelled with “other” in the “scientist affect” column deal with non-climate issues.

  • Joel Dolphin says:

    Thank you so much for doing this.

  • Allan Varela says:

    What is happening is terrible… They are making America LAST as the EU (especially Germany) and China are running away with the future…

  • Tim Smith says:

    Is there any data that precedes the 2016 election? It would be interesting to be able to compare previous administrations actions.

    • sabinadmin2 says:

      The Silencing Science Tracker does not record anti-science actions taken prior to the November 2016 election. There is, however, a good overview of earlier actions in Scientific Integrity in Federal Policymaking Under Past and Present Administrations (see administration

  • Jim Hanson says:

    Much is being made of how political progressives are on the fringes of society, socialists, or just plain crazy (labeled libtards for example).

    Thank you for keeping a weather eye on who I am actually afraid of, the politically socially, and scientifically regressive politicos – a useful and timely exercise.

  • Stanley says:

    Thank you for exposing this most dangerous kind of censorship being quietly imposed by the current White House resident. This is another aspect of describing truths as “fake news”. Dictatorship grows in darkness.

  • Glenn LaLonde says:

    Thank you for monitoring and publicizing the badly misguided and damaging actions regarding science that
    our government has been engaging in under Trump.

    This ongoing assault on factual information is nothing less than appalling, and is a clear danger to both science and democracy, as well as the future of the world.

    I implore all citizens who value scientific progress, free and open pursuit of knowledge, and the practice of democratic ideals, to take whatever actions they can to
    help our federal government to reverse the current
    ignorant, short-sighted, and badly advised course it is
    on, and to listen to and heed the informed counsel of
    our national and world science community.

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