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August 8, 2014


AAU Issues Statement on Senate America COMPETES Bill
Associations and Universities Express Concerns About Secret Science Reform Act.
Department of Energy Announces New Digital Data Management Requirements
Department of Energy Announces New Measures on Public Access to Research Results



AAU issued a statement on August 4 expressing support for the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014, introduced on July 31 by a group of six Democratic Senators, led by Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).

The measure has similarities to the COMPETES Acts of 2007 and 2010, and aligns closely with the key themes and principles found in the Guiding Principles for the America COMPETES Act Reauthorization, a document endorsed by more than 100 organizations, including AAU, in 2013.

Noting these parallels, the statement reads in part, “This legislation is very much in the spirit of the original COMPETES Act, which established a vision for revitalizing the nation’s research and innovation enterprise. If this bill were enacted and its recommendations for funding and policy adopted, it would be a major step forward in closing the nation’s innovation deficit.”

The new bill is a five-year reauthorization (FY15 through FY19) that includes funding authorizations for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as policy provisions for NSF, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs.


A group of 43 scientific and higher education associations and universities, led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), have sent letters to the House Republican leadership and to leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee expressing concerns about the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 4012, S. 2613).

The Secret Science bill was approved by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on June 24, and then introduced in the Senate on July 16 by eight Republican Senators, including Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The letter, sent to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on July 31 and to Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member Vitter on August 1, details concerns about key terms in the bill, provisions regarding the replication of research results, and the imposition of added uncompensated costs on recipients of federal research grants. The organizations and universities encouraged Congress to wait until federal agencies finalize new data access policies, as required by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, before moving ahead with new statutory requirements. Agencies are expected to complete this work by the end of this year. (See below.)


Department of Energy Announces New Digital Data Management Requirements

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE) on July 28 announced new requirements for the management of digital research data. These new requirements are in accordance with a February 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directive which requires all federal agencies with over $100 million in annual R&D expenditures to ensure that recipients of research grants and contracts develop Data Management Plans as part of their research proposals. The new requirements will appear in funding solicitations beginning on October 1, 2014.

Department of Energy Announces New Measures on Public Access to Research Results

The Department of Energy (DOE) on August 4 announced new measures to increase access to scholarly publications resulting from Department-funded research. DOE launched the Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science – PAGES – a web-based portal that will provide free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles within 12 months of publication.

As it grows in content, the DOE announcement said, PAGES will include access to DOE-funded authors’ accepted manuscripts hosted primarily by the Energy Department’s National Labs and grantee institutions, as well as public access offerings provided by publishers in coordination with DOE. For publisher-hosted content, the Department is collaborating with the publisher consortium CHORUS -- the Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States.

This action also responds to an OSTP directive on public access to the results of federally sponsored research that implements a provision of the 2010 COMPETES Act reauthorization.


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