FOOTNOTES NOVEMBER 1999
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PUBLIC AFFAIRS UPDATE
 
 
  • OSTP Seeks Comments on Research Misconduct Definition . . . . The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a proposed Common Federal Definition of Research Misconduct. The policy is posted on the Web at http://ori.dhhs.gov/fedreg101499.htm. OSTP seeks comments no later than December 13, 1999 directed to Sybil Francis, OSTP, Executive Office of the President, Washington, DC 20502 or via e-mail to sfrancis@ostp.eop.gov. ASA is currently examining the new policy.

  • Anderson to Step Down from OBSSR . . . . Norman Anderson, key to the enhanced presence of social science at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), indicated his intention to resign as Director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in January 2000. A statement issued the first week of October indicated that he will join the faculty of the Harvard University School of Public Health and also will become Vice President for Research and Development at Behavioral Sciences Unlimited. An effective search is critical here; ASA is working with other groups to add input.

  • NIH's Varmus Also to Resign . . . . October also brought news that Director Harold Varmus will leave NIH to become head of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York by year's end. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala asked the National Academy of Sciences to identify a potential pool of candidates for President Clinton to nominate.

  • ASA Joins in Commenting on NIH Boundaries Report . . . . On October 15, the ASA submitted comments on the Scientific Boundaries Report of the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR). These comments called for language change and explicit inclusion of the social and behavioral sciences as arenas of basic and applied research. Concerns were expressed about the biomedical emphasis in the Report, seemingly backing off from signals CSR and NIH have been sending about the need for all sciences on issues of health. The Consortium of Social Science Associations, the American Psychological Association, the American Anthropological Association, and ASA took the lead in preparing this document, which was joined by other signatories.

  • NSF Invests in Infrastructure . . . . The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) funded six infrastructure grants for approximately 20 million over the next five years. Based on a competition of over 100 proposals held in spring 1999, 23 proposals were strongly recommended for support but available resources could fund only six of these major initiatives. Each will create or expand use of databases or yield new tools or technologies in the social sciences. SBE is likely to announce a second competition in the next few months. Stay tuned.

  • NHA Supports Brooklyn Museum of Art Exhibit . . . . In October, the National Humanities Association (NHA), of which ASA is a constituent part, signaled its support for the American Association of Museums (AAM) statement on behalf of the Brooklyn Museum of Art in the debate over the exhibition, "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection." The statement urged New York Mayor Giuliani to continue its support for a museum that has served the community with distinction and emphasized that museums must operate without restriction in implementing their responsibility "to preserve our past and enlighten our present" (see http://www.aam-us.org).