Washington Update

FASEB Submits Feedback on American Research Environment

By: Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm
Thursday, December 19, 2019

Last month, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the American research environment. An effort of the National Science and Technology Council’s Joint Committee on the Research Environment, the RFI sought stakeholder feedback on four areas of concern: research rigor and integrity, coordinating administrative requirements for research, research security, and safe and inclusive research environments.

OSTP plans to use the information to identify actions that federal agencies can take to strengthen the American research environment. FASEB’s submitted comments highlighted prior positions and resources pertinent to these topics.

In its response, FASEB re-emphasized prior recommendations to address the reproducibility of research. This includes the need for standard definitions, sufficient reporting of experimental details, and rigorous scientific training. The comments also highlighted administrative burden – another long-standing topic of interest to the Federation – and the need for standardized reporting to reduce burden and confusion while increasing efficiency for research programs supported by multiple federal agencies.

FASEB recognizes that there is no straightforward solution to addressing environments that perpetuate harassment and appreciates the seriousness with which federal agencies are approaching this pervasive problem. Prior comments to the National Science Foundation commended its efforts to address harassment among its grantees. In recent comments submitted to the National Institutes of Health’s Advisory Committee to the Director’s Working Group on Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment, FASEB emphasized the need for NIH to treat professional misconduct with the same gravity as research misconduct.

Comments for the research environment RFI were originally due December 23, but a Federal Register notice posted on December 17 extended the comment period to January 28, 2020.