Scientific Integrity

The cornerstone of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) scientific integrity policy is that all scientists, engineers, or others supported by the DOE are free and encouraged to share their scientific findings and views. Science and technology lie at the heart of the DOE's mission. Through its far-reaching support of research at the 17 DOE National Laboratories and at hundreds of universities, other research institutions, and industry across the country, the Department is a major contributor to the Nation's overall research and development (R&D) effort. Given the importance to the nation of the DOE's research portfolio and the breadth of responsibility DOE bears for the Nation's continuing progress in science and technology, DOE is obliged to uphold the highest standards in the sponsorship, management, and conduct of research. Among these standards is the core value of scientific integrity. 

The DOE Scientific Integrity Policy document sets forth a policy intended to (1) ensure a culture of scientific integrity; (2) strengthen the actual and perceived credibility of the Federal Government and Federal Government sponsored research; (3) facilitate the free flow of scientific and technical information consistent with privacy and classification standards and applicable laws, regulations, and DOE Orders and Policies; and (4) establish principles for conveying scientific and technological information to the public.

This DOE Policy and Order applies to all DOE elements that conduct or support R&D activities including:

  • Federal staff and supervisors, including the heads of departmental elements and heads of field elements
  • Scientists and engineers at DOE national laboratories and field sites
  • Financial assistance recipients (e.g., grant and cooperative agreement awardees)
  • Those working at the DOE under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act
  • Political appointees
  • Other DOE contractors who support the R&D mission

Highlights of the DOE Scientific Integrity Policy:

  • Covered personnel are free to share personal views and opinions on scientific or technical related policy matters, provided they do not attribute these views to the U.S. Government. This includes scientific or a public forums, communications with the media, and publishing research finding.
  • Covered personnel have the right to the correction of errors in scientific and technical information that significantly relies on their research, identifies them as an author or contributor, or purports to represent their scientific opinion, in the event that such errors were released by the DOE, including in digital media outlets. Covered personnel also have the right to review, prior to publication or release, any institutional public communication (e.g., DOE or laboratory report, press release) that substantially relies on their research or is released under their name.
  • Under no circumstance may anyone, including a public affairs officer, ask or direct any researcher to alter the record of scientific findings or conclusions.


 DOE Scientific Integrity Policy (411.2A)

 DOE Scientific Integrity Exec Order (411.2)