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Public Policy Report for 3 January 2012

Federal Agencies Still Working to Develop Scientific Integrity Policies

One year after the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directed all federal departments and agencies to develop policies to ensure scientific integrity, only five government agencies have issued a final policy.

As of 21 December 2011, the Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Intelligence Community had issued a final policy.

Fourteen other departments and agencies submitted near-final drafts that are now going through the clearance processes at the White House: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, State, and Transportation, as well as the Veterans Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Environmental Protection Agency was expected to submit a final draft to OTSP last month.

The agency policies are supposed to ensure that federally supported research and scientific information are free from political interference, Federal Advisory Committees operate in a transparent manner that is free of conflicts of interest, and federal scientists can engage in professional development opportunities, such as participation in professional societies.

According to OSTP Director and presidential science advisor Dr. John Holdren, “we are in the home stretch of an important, added milestone: having in place a solid array of standing, agency-specific policies that will assure in unprecedented detail the reliability of government science and scientists—not only during this Administration but for Administrations to come.”

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National Science Board Report Aims for Grantees to Make Data More Available

Today, the National Science Board released their new report, “Digital Research Data Sharing and Management.” The report makes five recommendations regarding the accessibility of research data collected during projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Among the recommendations is a proposal to require grantees to make data and methodologies available in peer reviewed publications.

To support this goal, NSF should implement a data management plan that outlines the timeline for researchers to share their data. “Investigators should have the opportunity to analyze their data and publish their results within a reasonable time.” NSF is also recommended to encourage “individual scientific communities to establish data sharing and management practices that align with NSF data policies.”

Download the report and learn more about submitting public comments at http://www.nsf.gov/news/newssumm.jsp?cntnid=122702&WT.mcid=USNSF62&WT.mc_ev=click. Public comments are due by 18 January 2012.

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NAS Report Summarizes Issues for Biodiversity Management

In 2009, 400 people gathered for a two-day symposium on the challenges facing scientists, environmentalists, and natural resource managers in conserving and managing biodiversity and ecosystems. The National Academy of Sciences released a summary of the symposium in December 2011.

“Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin,” looks at eight key themes that emerged from the event. These include understanding, assessing, protecting, and managing biodiversity and ecosystem function; increasing capacity to inform policy with science; increasing society’s ability to manage and adapt to environmental change; strengthening international institutions and U.S. engagement; and accounting for the value of nature.

“The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects,” writes Dr. Peter R. Crane, chair of the committee that planned the symposium.

Read the report at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13109.

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Plan to Participate in the 2012 BESC Congressional Visits Day

Each year, the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC), a group co-chaired by AIBS, hosts a Congressional Visits Day in Washington, DC. This event is an opportunity for scientists to meet with their members of Congress about the importance of federal support for biological research and education. Event participants advocate for federal investments in biological sciences at federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, among other federal agencies.

This year’s event will be held on 28-29 March 2012 in Washington, DC. The first day of the event includes presentations on the federal budget and a communicating with policymakers training program that will prepare participants for meetings with congressional offices. The second day is spent on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and their staff.

Scientists and graduate students who are interested in communicating the importance of federal investments in scientific research and education to federal lawmakers are encouraged to participate in this important event.

Space is limited and registration is required. Due to space limitations, we may not be able to accommodate all interested parties.

BESC is not able to pay/reimburse participant expenses associated with participating in this event.

Learn more and register at http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressionalvisitsday.html.

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Graduate Students: Apply for the 2012 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award

The Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award (EPPLA) recognizes graduate students in the biological sciences with an interest and aptitude for working at the intersection of science and public policy.

EPPLA winners will receive a free trip to Washington, DC to participate in the 2012 BESC Congressional Visits Day on 28-29 March 2012.

Applications must be receive by 20 January 2012.

Information about the application process is available at: http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/student_opportunities.html.

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AIBS to Conduct Policy Training Workshop at Botany 2012 Conference

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Public Policy Office is pleased to announce that it will conduct a policy and communications training workshop at the Botany 2012 meetings in Columbus, Ohio in July. The workshop, “Influencing Science Policymakers: A Workshop for Students and Early Career Scientists” will provide participants with an introduction to the skills and techniques needed to be effective advocates for science and the scientific profession. The workshop is scheduled for Sunday, 8 July 2012. Additional information about the workshop and the meeting, including information about how to register for the workshop and Botany 2012, is available on the conference web site (http://www.2012.botanyconference.org/).

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Short Takes

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Become an Advocate for Science: Join the AIBS Legislative Action Center

Quick, free, easy, effective, impactful! Join the AIBS Legislative Action Center today!

The AIBS Legislative Action Center is an online resource that allows biologists and science educators to quickly and effectively influence policy and public opinion. Each day lawmakers must make tough decisions about science policy. For example, what investments to make in federal research programs, how to conserve biodiversity, how to mitigate climate change, or under what circumstances to permit stem cell research. Scientists now have the opportunity to help elected officials understand these issues. This exciting new advocacy tool allows individuals to quickly and easily communicate with members of Congress, executive branch officials, and selected media outlets.

This new tool is made possible through contributions from the Society for the Study of Evolution, American Society for Limnology and Oceanography, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, and the Botanical Society of America.

AIBS and our partner organizations invite scientists and science educators to become a policy advocate today. Simply go to http://capwiz.com/aibs/home/ to send a prepared letter or to sign up to receive periodic Action Alerts.

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