listserv messages

Posted by Caroline Wagner on 03/20/2017 - 10:34
Dear Colleagues, The AAAS Annual meeting for 2018 will focus on “Advancing Science: Discovery to Application.” This iconic topic has been a theme across many science policy discussions over the decades. What if we turned the theme around and asked the question about how applications have driven science and advanced “from application to discovery”? Many scientific discoveries has emerged from applications – and a nice part of the story is that many advances have come from military applications and fed back into basic science. I would like to propose a Symposium... [Read more]  

Posted by Yasin Ozcan on 03/20/2017 - 05:12
The next Innovation Policy and the Economy conference will be held on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at  the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave, NW in Washington, DC. The program can be found at NBER Innovation Policy and the Economy conference aims to bring first rate research grounded in analysis and measurement into policy conversations, and is geared to an audience of congressional and administration staff and other policymakers and policy analysts.Please feel... [Read more]  

Posted by Stephen Fiore on 03/19/2017 - 13:31
Hi Everyone – DARPA has an interesting new RFI out (described below).  It reminds me some of IARPA’s “Foresight and Understanding from Scientific Exposition” (FUSE) program from a few years ago (  FUSE, and related projects, had multiple objectives and generated a number of publications that are likely of interest to folks on this list.  You can find a number of them using this Google Scholar search (... [Read more]  
Replied by Jeffrey Alexander on 03/19/2017 - 17:06
As a side note, some may have noticed that Meta was recently acquired by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which plans to take the Meta platform for analyzing scientific literature and make it freely available to any researcher.  [Read more]  
Replied by Brooke Struck on 03/20/2017 - 09:01
One point that concerns me in this discussion of the automation and/or serendipity discussion is that even if the two are conceptually compatible—and even complementary—it is easy to imagine a future in which a tightened budget would force the choice between the two, or at the very least a trade-off between them. It will quickly become necessary for the community to justify a manual approach once an apparently automated solution exists. The chances will be quite high that either there’s no support to develop the automated approach (“The manual approach is just fine.”) or... [Read more]  
Replied by Glenn Hampson on 03/22/2017 - 08:58
Hi Jack, Steve, I’ve probably mentioned this before in the OSI forum, but with regard to serendipity (or the thematic vagabonding, intentional serendipity and related ideas that Jack Park, Robin Adams and others have mentioned), there’s another approach here that works really well---NAKFI. The National Academies (with funding from the Keck Foundation) organizes an annual vagabonding session wherein a wide variety of scientists and other types  are brought together to compare notes on one specific “grand challenge.” In the Fall of 2014, I participated in one NAKFI conference where this... [Read more]  
Replied by Glenn Hampson on 03/22/2017 - 15:17
I completely agree Britt. Susan (who I didn’t realize was also a NAKFI alum---it sounds like you are as well) and I were comparing notes offline and I think she also agrees with you. I know we all have the greatest admiration for this effort and the people behind it, but were it possible to change it, then thorough, qualified follow-up and taking fuller advantage of the opportunities presented would be at the top of my wish list. I had to look up “phronesis”---it sounds exactly right to me (but then I’m not a scientist---and sometimes, as you know, blind luck has also lead to some... [Read more]  
Replied by Glenn Hampson on 03/23/2017 - 04:55
“I think it could be possible to make principled decisions about how best to use federal funding to achieve health goals, but doing so will mean broadening what needs to be known about human diseases and on how to determine measurable outcomes that include the public good.”By what mechanism then? Who decides where the money goes and based on what inputs? And how would this process be better than now?  One approach that might underlie some of what you’re describing here is to target the disruptive influence of impact factors. We score grant applications based in part on the publishing... [Read more]  
Replied by Glenn Hampson on 03/23/2017 - 06:20
BTW, here’s a July 9, 2014 PLOS ONE article by John P. A. Ioannidis et al. that describes this “fund who and what we know” phenomenon in more detail (as it relates to publishing practices):Our evaluation of the entire Scopus database for the period 1996–2011 shows that, overall, only a very small fraction of researchers (<1% of the over 15 million publishing scientists) have an uninterrupted, continuous presence in the scientific literature and these investigators account for the lion’s share... [Read more]  

Posted by Eugene Arthurs on 03/19/2017 - 15:48
I would expect most or all on SciSip agree that last week’s skinny budget makes little sense as regards DOE and NIH science funding and believe or hope that Congress will moderate the damage, as previous Congresses diluted Obama’s more pro-science budgets. Those who voted for the current administration may feel that the proposals are coherent with the campaign promises, (and some in this cohort may feel it also has elements of payback for we elite who disrespect them). The OMB director said this first feint for the FY2018 budget was based on an analysis of the president’... [Read more]  
Replied by James Gover on 03/19/2017 - 13:00
YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM: "When it comes to spending, the public puts cutting science well ahead of cutting the beloved entitlement programs."  THE ATTACHMENT DESCRIBES WHAT I THINK THE S&T COMMUNITY NEEDS TO DO ABOUT THIS MATTER; HOWEVER MY RECOMMENDATIONS ARE LONG-TERM.jimOn Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 1:48 PM, Eugene Arthurs <> wrote: I would expect most or all on SciSip agree that last week’s skinny budget makes little sense as regards DOE and NIH science funding and believe or hope that Congress... [Read more]  

Posted by Kevin N. Dunbar on 03/19/2017 - 10:20
Dr. Holdren was referring to the ITER consortium and the use of a tokamak.  Their website provides summaries of how it works ( "The tokamak is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion. Inside a tokamak, the energy produced through the fusion of atoms is absorbed as heat in the walls of the vessel. Just like a conventional power plant, a fusion power plant will use this heat to produce steam and then electricity by way of turbines and generators. The heart of a tokamak is its doughnut-shaped vacuum... [Read more]  

Posted by David Wojick on 03/19/2017 - 08:20
The President's large budget cut outline include a lot of science agencies. See NSF is so far not mentioned, but for example DOE's Office of Science is looking at a proposed cut of about 18%. Few, if any, specific science programs have been specified, so the obvious science policy question is what to cut? Any thoughts on how to prioritize these? Should we cut every... [Read more]  
Replied by Glenn Hampson on 03/19/2017 - 05:35
I disagree David. The obvious question is why cut at all. The president's proposed budget has nothing to do with budgeting and everything to do with Steve Bannon's professed goal of destroying the administrative state. I don't want to say "hopefully Congress will put the brakes on this"---it's really up to all of us to be heard. The science community---none of us really---should simply acquiesce to these cuts. Glenn Hampson Executive Director National Science Communication Institute (nSCI) Program Director Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI) 2320 N... [Read more]  
Replied by Coles, Eric (NIH/NHLBI) [E] on 03/19/2017 - 13:02
I think there are short and long term questions adapted from David's and Glenn's points. The short-term question is how to justify current science spending levels as, at the very least, worthy of the current funding amounts? The long-term questions are how did science funding find itself in this precarious position of possible significantly declining in funding to begin with? Why were cuts in science funding even considered? ________________________________________ From: Glenn Hampson [ghampson@NATIONALSCIENCE.ORG]... [Read more]  
Replied by David Wojick on 03/19/2017 - 10:03
Science funding per se is not being targeted. Almost all discretionary non-military programs are being cut. Here is the simple reason, from the budget outline: "The core of my first Budget Blueprint is the rebuilding of our Nation’s military without adding to our Federal deficit. There is a $54 billion increase in defense spending in 2018 that is offset by targeted reductions elsewhere. This defense funding is vital to rebuilding and preparing our Armed Forces for the future." "The President’s 2018 Budget: •Repeals... [Read more]  
Replied by Daniel Sarewitz on 03/19/2017 - 14:08
this is a very important point. Interpreting the Trump budget proposal through a “war on science” lens does not give a clear view of what is actually going on. On 3/19/17, 2:03 PM, "David Wojick" wrote: >Science funding per se is not being targeted. Almost all discretionary >non-military programs are being cut. Here is the simple reason, from the >budget outline: > >"The core of my first Budget Blueprint is the rebuilding of our Nation?s >military without adding >to our Federal deficit. There is a $... [Read more]  
Replied by Daniel Sarewitz on 03/19/2017 - 14:18
no such assumption being made, Bob. Presidential budget proposals are just that, proposals. But they are also statements of policy priorities and intentions, so it¹s important to be clear about what those are and how to interpret them, is all. d On 3/19/17, 2:13 PM, "Frodeman, Robert" wrote: >The problem with this discussion is that it assumes that Trump¹s budget >(outline) will have any standing once things are discussed in congress. >This is unlikely, with a repub chief of staff calling it a joke, and >saying... [Read more]  
Replied by Glenn Hampson on 03/19/2017 - 07:53
I agree with you Daniel and David that there's a rationale for this budget. It's just not a logical rationale. Even if you agree with the general philosophy of reducing waste and improving efficiency in government spending, certainly there's a way to go about doing this that is worthy of your defense. The bone I'm picking with David (and I respect David's opinions---we work together a lot on the Open Scholarship Initiative listserv) is that for those of us who aren't analysts but just citizens, our first reflex shouldn't be to sigh and figure out how to carry out bad policy proposals... [Read more]