Scientists Call for Creation of Research Policy Board
Rick Fienberg, AAS Press Officer
This post as adapted from a National Academies press release:
In a Nature commentary published on 11 February, National Academy of Sciences President Marcia K. McNutt and several colleagues make the case for the creation of a US advisory board for research integrity and quality.
The proposed research policy board would be "a central resource to which institutional leaders and other members of the scientific enterprise could turn for assistance in creating and sustaining cultures for reliable and efficient research." Priorities would include addressing issues related to authorship, raising the quality of peer review, educating researchers on responsible conduct, and streamlining research administration. The authors call the establishment of such a board overdue, noting that multiple National Academies reports stretching back over 25 years — including Optimizing the Nation's Investment in Academic Research and Fostering Integrity in Research — have recommended the creation of a dedicated venue to address issues related to the research enterprise. (Four co-authors of the Nature commentary served on committees that wrote the relevant reports.)
As a first step toward the creation of the research policy board, the National Academy of Sciences will hold a plenary session on the trustworthiness of science at its annual April meeting, the commentary notes. It also proposes a two-day meeting of stakeholders later this year to determine what sort of formal entity is needed, what it should do, what kind of support it would need, and under what authorization it would operate.