News of the WeekFEDERAL RESEARCH

Efforts to Evaluate R&D Found Wanting

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Science  19 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5405, pp. 1096-1097
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5405.1096

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Summary

A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel asked to help federal agencies evaluate their R&D efforts in accord with a 1993 law has concluded that such evaluations are useful--if done properly. The report, written by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), a joint panel of NAS, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, recommends the use of outside experts to look at the quality, relevance, and international ranking of research funded by government agencies that must follow the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act. Some scientists have complained that the law, intended to make sure that tax dollars are being spent wisely, could trivialize basic research by forcing agencies to demand short-term, quantitative results.

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