How Best to Hold Federal Scientific Research Accountable
The U.S. Congress is responsible for overseeing federal funding of scientific research. The question raised recently is how best to do that to ensure that government investments fund the finest science — and promote most effectively America’s economic growth and prosperity.
In a bylined article, published on January 12 by Politico Magazine, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Lamar Smith — Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology — jointly address the question. They write:
The first step toward eliminating wasteful spending should be increased transparency. At the moment, the only information available to the public about grants is a brief summary on the agency’s website written by the researcher. Instead, agencies — not researchers — should provide a plain-English, nontechnical explanation of why taxpayer-funded grants are important or have the potential to benefit the national interest. Once the process is more open and transparent, it will be easier to redirect public research investments to the areas that boost economic growth and job creation: biology, computer science, mathematics and engineering.
Increased transparency is surely to be encouraged in this context — and in most contexts in government. The public has a right to know — —> Read More Here