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Letter to Director of the Office of Management and Budget Criticizing Guidance on Agency Information Peer Review

May 26, 2004
Science Committee letterhead image

May 26, 2004

The Honorable Joshua Bolten
The Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503

Dear Mr. Bolten:

In December several of us wrote expressing a number of concerns about the proposed Peer Review Guidelines.  We indicated that the proposal was unjustified, overly broad, burdensome, and did not appropriately guard against appointment of reviewers with conflicts of interest.  We also expressed our concern that the proposal provided the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with excessive authority over the production and dissemination of government information.  The revised proposal does not address these concerns.

In our view, the revised guidelines do not strengthen peer review policies across the federal government.  Instead they invite politicization of science at federal agencies by placing control over the development and dissemination of federal information in a policy office - OIRA.  The proposal is not tailored to ensure that the more rigid peer review requirements imposed by this Bulletin are restricted to "the more important information disseminated by the federal government."  These procedures will obstruct the dissemination of agency information, particularly in matters related to public health and safety and the environment....

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108th Congress