Obama calls for peer-review autonomy

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In a brief 15-minute speech, US President Barack Obama championed independence for the peer-review process, in front of an audience of elite researchers at the 150th annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC.


“In order for us to maintain our edge, we’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system,” Obama said.

His support comes on the heels of draft legislation, dated 18 April, that ScienceInsider reports is being discussed by the chairman of the US House of Representatives Science Committee, Lamar Smith (Republican, Texas). That legislation would overhaul peer review of grants submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and require the NSF director to certify each funded project as benefitting the economic or public health of the United States.

The effort by Smith follows a stream of recent attacks on science funding and the peer-review system, including legislation in the 2013 spending bill from Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican, that requires the NSF director to certify that all funded political-science research is crucial to national security or the US economy.

Written By: Beth Mole
continue to source article at blogs.nature.com

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  1. Let us not forget that the President is a fair weather friend of science , at best. He still believes plenty of woo and bases few of his decisions concerning science, on the science. He is a political animal who will throw everything under the bus for a shiny toy, In the past he would have been a fairly conservative republican, judging from his first term.

    • In reply to #2 by DocWebster:

      Let us not forget that the President is a fair weather friend of science
      I suspect more what is happening is he is acutely aware of how backward the American people are, and as its first black president, if he tries to muscle things through, he will not succeed. He has to work primarily by waiting for the right timing — like his anti-gun bill which flopped anyway due to NRA threats and bribes.

    • In reply to #2 by DocWebster:

      Let us not forget that the President is a fair weather friend of science , at best. He still believes plenty of woo and bases few of his decisions concerning science, on the science. He is a political animal who will throw everything under the bus for a shiny toy, In the past he would have been a fairly conservative republican, judging from his first term.

      Pardon my ignorance, but what woo? and what way could he be described as a “fairly conservative republican”?

  2. This is wonderful news. In Canada we have gone backward. Every scientist and person in the RCMP needs permission and direction from the Prime Minister’s office before he can talk to the public. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has effectively muzzled science from talking about the environment or global warming.Not only that, but all government scientists are gradually being laid off. I feel like I am living in Germany during the rise of Hitler. Harper is a fundamentalist. He also believes that there should be no impediments to corporations whose directors give him campaign contributions. He behaves as if he worships petroleum compounds.

  3. @OP – In a brief 15-minute speech, US President Barack Obama championed independence for the peer-review process, in front of an audience of elite researchers at the 150th annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC.

    Let us hope this is not just playing to the audience of the day!

    “In order for us to maintain our edge, we’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system,” Obama said.

    His support comes on the heels of draft legislation, dated 18 April, that ScienceInsider reports is being discussed by the chairman of the US House of Representatives Science Committee, Lamar Smith (Republican, Texas).

    Perhaps the Democrats should show their commitment to peer-review, by moving a vote of no confidence in Lamar Smith, and elect a competent chair of the Science Committee!

  4. Fossil fuel pimps in congress will not be happy until every earth-monitoring satellite is grounded and every environmental pursuit is defunded. The big boys with the big bucks will go to war with anybody, even their own scientists, just to keep the spigots wide open on their money casks. The redoubtable process of peer review will be vilified by those who don’t like its results. Remember, these are the liars who through extensive propaganda and media repetition put intentional stinks on benign words like ‘liberal’, ‘evolution’, and ‘empathy’. The hatred is greed-fueled, and it dovetails nicely with greed-fueled religions and their proven success at divisiveness. When you see big fossil-fuel bucks going to provocative religious groups it’s obvious that large-scale manipulation is continuing. To allow the greed-agenda to replace peer-reviewed science would be an utter abomination. It will not happen.

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