performance and improvement. In carrying out the provisions of the act, the director of OMB coordinates with agencies to develop the federal government performance plan. The act requires, with few exceptions, all federal agencies to establish performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing progress toward their identified performance goals and an objective, quantifiable, and measurable means by which to compare actual program results with these established performance goals. Additionally, each agency must describe how it will ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data used, including validation of measures, data sources, required level of accuracy, data limitations, and management of those limitations.

The broad scope of agencies affected by this act, and the use of the act in making budgetary decisions based on measured achievement toward program goals, has fostered added focus among many agencies on how to collect high quality data and produce sound government statistics with which to conduct rigorous program evaluation.


In a memorandum on scientific integrity in March 2009, President Obama stated:30

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

The President directed the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop a strategy to ensure scientific integrity in government decision making.

In response, the OSTP director issued a memorandum on December 17, 2010, that called for executive departments and agencies to develop


30Available: [February 2013].

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement