In January 2022 the Biden administration announced its long-awaited strategy to safeguard scientific integrity across US federal research facilities and agencies.

But 16 months on, do researchers working in those organisations feel better protected than they did under the administration led by Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump?

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a US non-profit and advocacy organisation based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has tracked more than 200 examples where scientific decision-making processes were politicised during the four-year Trump administration, compared to 98 under the 2001-9 presidency of George W Bush.

In the second episode of this six-part Working Scientist podcast series about freedom and safety in science, Jacob Carter, research director at the union’s centre for science and democracy, joins Lauren Kurtz, executive director of the US Climate Science Legal Defence Fund, to describe the impact of the Biden strategy in empowering scientist whistleblowers to speak out.

“Don’t punish the people who do come forward,” says Kurtz. “Even if their claims are found to be not a true violation or there was a misunderstanding or something, it’s imperative to not punish people who came forth with good faith claims.”

Listen to the full episode on the Nature Careers podcast