20 July 2021

National Academies Establish Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust

This post is adapted from a National Academies press release:

National Academies Logos
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

A new Strategic Council for Research Excellence, Integrity, and Trust has been established by the National Academy of Sciences to convene stakeholders across the research enterprise to develop ways to promote high-quality research practices and to anticipate and address challenges to research ethics and integrity.

The Strategic Council will serve as a venue where researchers, institutions, and policy makers can identify challenges to the integrity and health of the research enterprise — for example, conflicting and ineffective requirements, problematic incentive systems, and barriers to inclusion and equity — and work to develop policies and best practices for solving these challenges.

Additional issues the Strategic Council may tackle include identifying methods to assess the quality of research, developing standards for recognizing and mitigating conflicts of interest, and finding ways to improve efficiency and reduce redundant reporting. 

The creation of the Strategic Council stems from three recent reports from the National Academies: Optimizing the Nation's Investment in Academic Research (2016), Fostering Integrity in Research (2017), and Reproducibility and Replicability in Science (2019). The reports recommend steps that could be taken and the creation of a body to elevate the excellence and safeguard the health and welfare of the research enterprise.

“A number of organizations focus on components of the research enterprise, but no entity currently exists to ensure that the various policies and procedures are not redundant, or worse, inconsistent,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “Our new Strategic Council will provide a much-needed venue for multiple stakeholders to collectively advance the research enterprise across the sciences, engineering, and medicine while preparing it for future challenges.”

The Strategic Council will hold public meetings to hear from the broader scientific community on issues related to research integrity, ethics, and trust and will develop an annual workshop to highlight and address specific key topics.  

The project is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences — Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.

For more information, including a list of council members, see the press release and the Strategic Council page.