In recent years, the Department of the Interior has taken a lot of criticism about abuse of science, such as a Bush Administration political appointee who scientists said played fast and loose with research on endangered species.
Now a new policy designed to prevent such problems is getting an enthusiastic welcome from advocacy groups.
The policy lays out general principles that apply to all of the agencies within the department, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, which handles endangered species. According to the policy, scientific findings that are used to set policy should be made public, except when they are exempt by law. Findings should never be suppressed and scientists shouldn't be pressured into changing their findings.
Francesca Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, calls the document "a great framework" but said that many specifics need to be worked out, such as deadlines for releasing information.