AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 23, Issue 18, August 29, 2022
- White House Issues New Guidance on Public Access to Federally Funded Research
- NSF Releases Report on the ‘Future of EPSCoR’
- National Academy Sanctions White House Climate Official
- Lawmakers Urge Biden to Boost DOE Science Budget
- Webinar: Current and Future Funding Opportunities at NSF
- Recording Available: Outcomes from the 2021 IDEA Conference
- Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest
- Short Takes
- NSF Webinar: Synthesis Center for Molecular and Cellular Data Sciences
- Nominations Sought for the International Arctic Science Committee
- From the Federal Register
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White House Issues New Guidance on Public Access to Federally Funded Research
Last week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum calling on federal agencies that support research and development to update their public access policies to “make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost.”
The new guidance builds on the 2013 OSTP Memorandum on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research Results. It directs all agencies that fund research—not just the 20 agencies covered under current policy that spend $100 million or more annually—to make publications resulting from federally supported research freely available and publicly accessible in agency-designated repositories immediately, without any embargo. Scientific data underlying such publications must also be made freely accessible without delay.
The new policy would eliminate the current optional 12-month publication embargo, which the Administration argues “has limited immediate equitable access of federally funded research results to only those able to pay for it or have privileged access through libraries or other institutions.” Publishers have advocated for years to keep the year-long embargo, arguing it was important for their subscription model to cover internal publishing and editing costs.
It is currently unclear exactly how the government plans to fund immediate public access and how this policy change might impact the business models of journals and publishers.
According to Science Insider, OSTP Acting Director Alondra Nelson says the new policy is not intended to mandate any particular business model for publishing. Researchers might still be able to publish in subscription journals as long as they satisfy the new requirements by depositing the almost-final, accepted version into an agency approved repository. In that case, the journal would still be able to keep the final version of the publication behind a paywall.
Agencies have been ordered to develop new, or update existing, public access plans to meet the new requirements with the goal of finalizing their policies by the end of 2024 and implementing them by the end of 2025. Agencies have also been asked to publish plans to ensure scientific and research integrity by the end of 2026, and implement these by the end of 2027.
NSF Releases Report on the ‘Future of EPSCoR’
A new report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) presents a vision for the future of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which is designed to enhance the research competitiveness of states and territories that have historically received a smaller portion of grants from the agency.
The report comes on the heels of the newly passed CHIPS and Science Act, which calls on NSF to significantly increase the amount of funding allocated to EPSCoR jurisdictions. Developed by an 18-member panel established by the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, the report provides an assessment of the effectiveness of the program’s policies and funding strategies and recommends some changes to improve the program’s impact.
According to the study, although EPSCoR has helped to facilitate high priority research collaborations, increased the number of faculty hired and retained, and supported research infrastructure and education programs in EPSCoR jurisdictions, “there is still progress to be made.”
To bolster ongoing efforts, the panel makes eight recommendations, which broadly fall under three focus areas: expanding and supporting human capital, bridge-building, and strengthening resources and infrastructure.
In short, the report recommends that NSF improve coordination between EPSCoR and other programs at NSF and other federal agencies; expand support for recruiting, retaining, and training faculty; grow investments in physical and administrative infrastructure; promote workforce development programs; and strengthen efforts to broaden participation by enhancing accessibility and inclusion. Read a two-page summary of the panel’s recommendations.
National Academy Sanctions White House Climate Official
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has sanctioned Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Deputy Director for Climate and Environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), for a conflict-of-interest violation she committed while working as an editor for its flagship journal.
The sanction follows a petition from the conservative group, the American Accountability Foundation, over a now retracted article that Lubchenco edited for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences before joining the White House. The journal later found that Lubchenco violated its ethics codes because she had previously collaborated with some of the authors, which included her brother-in-law. The article also had technical errors as it relied on outdated data.
As a result of the sanction, which went into effect on August 8, Lubchenco has been “barred for five years from being involved in NAS publications; serving on or participating in NAS and National Academies program activities; and receiving NAS honors or awards.”
“I accept these sanctions for my error in judgment in editing a paper authored by some of my research collaborators — an error for which I have publicly stated my regret,” stated Lubchenco, who plays a leading role in OSTP’s scientific integrity efforts in addition to her work as climate adviser.
Last February, Republicans on the House Science Committee wrote to President Biden, asking him to consider “if Dr. Lubchenco should continue to be involved in developing a framework for the improvement of agency scientific integrity policies and practices when she has violated the very policies she is tasked with imposing on Federal agencies.” They reiterated their suggestion to remove Lubchenco from the scientific integrity initiative soon after the NAS sanction was announced.
Lawmakers Urge Biden to Boost DOE Science Budget
Democratic members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are calling on the Biden Administration to develop a robust budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science in fiscal year (FY) 2024 and beyond.
Twenty-one members of the Science Committee, led by Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Bill Foster (D-IL), sent a letter to the White House and DOE on August 11 urging them to develop a FY 2024 budget proposal for the DOE Office of Science that reflects the “robust scale and scope of investment outlined in the enacted CHIPS and Science Act.”
The newly enacted CHIPS and Science Act (H.R. 4346) sets forth aspirational funding levels for the science office that will have to be met through annual appropriations bills. Overall, it includes an historical 5-year authorization of $50 billion for the agency, which serves as the main research arm for DOE. In terms of annual budgets, the law authorizes $8.9 billion for the science office in FY 2023, which would increase to $10.9 billion in FY 2027.
“It is imperative that we meet this historical moment with transformative investments in science and innovation, and that process begins with the president’s budget request,” the letter argues. “We also expect the Administration’s request to be an ambitious statement of priorities that seeks to boldly meet pressing challenges, not a rigid balance sheet.”
The letter expresses disappointment over the Administration’s FY 2023 request of $7.8 billion for the agency, noting that the proposed funding level would prevent major construction projects from maintaining their project schedules and does not account for supply chain delays and other impacts from the pandemic. “The resultant delays and increased price tags caused by lackluster budgets impede scientific progress and deny DOE’s internal and external research communities’ access to the most up-to-date instrumentation,” the lawmakers contend.
Arguing that the “stakes are too high for incrementalism or austerity,” the letter calls on the Administration to follow through with a budget request that “honors our shared commitment and the priorities authorized by Congress.”
Congressional deliberations on FY 2023 appropriations are currently ongoing. Under the Senate’s spending proposal, the science office would receive $8.1 billion in FY 2023, while under the House plan it would get $8 billion.
Webinar: Current and Future Funding Opportunities at NSF
Join the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC) and AIBS for a webinar with program officers from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to discuss current and future funding opportunities at NSF for early career scientists, including at the new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate. The program will include remarks from NSF panelists and a Q&A session.
Date: Monday, September 12, 2022
Time: 1:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time
Recording Available: Outcomes from the 2021 IDEA Conference
In 2021, AIBS expanded our annual meeting of the AIBS Council of Member Societies and Organizations into the IDEA conference. This IDEA conference, supported by the National Science Foundation’s LEAPS program, focuses on Enabling Scientific Societies to Support Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, and Accepting (IDEA) Scientific Environments. The first meeting of the conference was held in November of 2021, with the second one taking place this fall.
We held a webinar on August 23, 2022 to discuss the outcomes from the first meeting and lay the foundation for what to expect during the upcoming IDEA 2.0 conference. View the recording.
Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest
Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest for a chance to win $250 and to have your photo appear on the cover of the journal BioScience.
The competition recognizes scientists who use imagery to communicate aspects of biological research to the public and policymakers. Once again, this year's competition is sponsored by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in addition to the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).
“Art and science are inextricably linked to effective communication,” said Scott Glisson, Chief Executive Officer of AIBS. “This contest provides a forum for expression, inspiration, and technical skill. The creativity involved is magnificent.”
The theme of the contest is “Faces of Biology.” Photographs entered into the competition must depict a person, such as a scientist, technician, or student, engaging in biological research. The depicted research may occur outside, in a lab, with a natural history collection, on a computer, in a classroom, or elsewhere.
The winning photo from the 2021 contest was featured on the cover of the April 2022 issue of BioScience.
Submissions must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2022. For more information or to enter the contest, visit our website.
- Join the Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a webinar on the Synthesis Center for Molecular and Cellular Data Sciences (SCMCS) solicitation. The SCMCS program seeks to establish a synthesis center that will create new knowledge through innovative synthesis and integration of available data. Cognizant program officers will host a webinar on September 15, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST.
- The Polar Research Board (PRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) serves as the U.S. National Committee to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)—a non-governmental, international scientific organization that promotes and facilitates cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research. The PRB is currently soliciting nominations for U.S. representatives to serve on the Cryosphere, Terrestrial, and Marine Working Groups of IASC. Please submit your nominations by Friday, September 2 to April Melvin (AMelvin@nas.edu). Include the candidate’s name, affiliation, area of expertise, and a few sentences about why the nominee is appropriate.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity organization that advances the biological sciences for the benefit of science and society. AIBS works with like-minded organizations, funding agencies, and political entities to promote the use of science to inform decision-making. The organization does this by providing peer-reviewed or vetted information about the biology field and profession and by catalyzing action through building the capacity and the leadership of the community to address matters of common concern.
Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, AIBS has more than 100 member organizations and has a Public Policy Office in Washington, DC. Its staff members work to achieve its mission by publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience, by providing scientific peer-review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients, and by collaborating with scientific organizations to advance public policy, education, and the public understanding of science.