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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 410
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6311.410

Federal agencies have different policies on disclosure.

The U.S. government does not maintain a registry of research misconduct cases. And the two agencies that police scientific misconduct, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) within the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation (NSF), follow different practices.

ORI uses the Federal Register (the encyclopedic record of government actions published every workday) and its website to disclose cases in which researchers have been sanctioned. Once those penalties have expired, however, the information is removed from its listing of active cases. NSF's inspector general posts summaries of every completed case, but all identifying features, including the name, are redacted. Until a few years ago, NSF made an exception for those who were debarred. But their names are now also redacted in the summary document.

The General Services Administration, an agency responsible for managing federal properties, maintains a public website, called the System for Award Management, listing every person and company debarred by any government agency, including all scientists. The site is intended to prevent an agency from inadvertently giving a grant or contract to someone who is ineligible. But the listing provides no details of the case or the nature of the sanction, and the site is not easy to navigate.

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