Science  06 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5527, pp. 27

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  1. Torn Loyalties

    A nasty fight is brewing between the Bush Administration and Congress over who should administer proposed math and science education partnerships involving universities, schools, and industry (Science, 25 May, p. 1463). Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is caught in the crossfire.

    The House Science Committee last month passed a bill that would put universities in the driver's seat by funneling federal funds to academics and nonprofits working with the schools. That time-tested approach is fine with NSF officials, sources say. But some Administration officials object, and in a 19 June letter to congressional leaders, NSF director Rita Colwell followed her bosses' wishes and argued that the program should give awards directly to state and local school districts. They are “closer to the needs of students” and more accountable for their performance, Colwell wrote. She also complained that a larger education reform bill moving through Congress goes against the Administration's plans by putting the Department of Education—and not NSF—in charge of the partnerships.

    The disagreement won't be resolved until Congress finishes the education package later this year.

  2. Money Talk

    A proposal to charge researchers up to $500 to post their papers on a free-access Web site is drawing mixed reviews from scientists. BioMed Central—a free online publisher—last week said that it is mulling a sliding scale for author charges. Publisher Jan Velterop says the charges will help maximize the distribution of papers and eventually reduce the amount of money that the scientific community overall spends on publishing fees and journal subscriptions.

    The fee idea is backed by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), an advocacy group that has challenged journal publishers (including AAAS, publisher of Science) to provide free access to back issues (Science, 23 March, p. 2318). But in an online debate on the proposal (, some researchers argue that a fee will drive researchers to submit their best work to commercial journals that have no charges and will possibly drive up costs in the short run, as institutions pay both to publish and maintain subscriptions. If BioMed Central does impose the fees, officials say they would come no earlier than 2002.