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Public Affairs Update

  • Take Note of Potential Changes to 2000 PUMS . . . . The Census Bureau is assessing whether to reduce the subject and geographic detail for the Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) of the Census 2000. Alterations could threaten the quality of data for social science research and policy. Discussion focuses on strategies to reduce risk to respondent confidentiality without compromising data quality. For further information, see the Task Force on the 2000 PUMS at or contact Steven Ruggles, Chair of the ICPSR Census 2000 Advisory Committee at Ruggles is coordinating this effort.

  • OMB Issues Guidance on Tabulating Race Data . . . . In March, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew issued further guidance to Federal agencies on tabulating race under its revised standards. Lew indicated that the Census Bureau would publish the full range of 63 possible single and multiple race responses from the Census 2000 questionnaire. Multiple race responses will be allocated in several ways for civil rights monitoring and enforcement: combinations of one minority race and “White” will be allocated to the minority race; combinations that include two or more minority races will be allocated to the race that is cited as the basis for discrimination (in the case of an individual complaint of discrimination). Finally, in discrimination cases that require an assessment of disparate impact or discriminatory patterns, the enforcement agency will review the patterns based on alternative allocations to each of the minority groups reported. In 1997, OMB modified its policy for collecting Federal data on race and ethnicity by allowing individuals to select more than one race. For more information, contact OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs/Statistical Policy Office at (202) 395-3093.

  • Duster and Wilson selected as NIH Director’s Lecturers . . . .Sociologists Troy Duster (New York University and University of California-Berkeley) and William Julius Wilson (Harvard University) have been named as two of the coveted “Director’s Lecturers” at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 2001. . . .an important high profile for sociological work!

  • NIJ Getting the Word Out on Crime Research . . . . The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), known for its attention to dissemination of research and data, launched a new journal, The NIJ Research Review. To be published quarterly, it will feature short summaries of significant research and findings and other important and timely information. For more information, see

  • NIH Puts New Human Subjects Review Policy in Place . . . . Starting with applications in June/July 2000, the NIH has streamlined procedures for the submission of proposals. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval does not need to be obtained prior to proposal review. Researchers who learn that their proposals have priority scores in the fundable range can proceed with IRB review if approval was not previously granted. The change is seen as reducing the burden on researchers and reviewers until it is relevant to do so.

  • Speaking of IRBs . . . .Thanks for the response to the call in April Footnotes and on the ASA homepage ( for sociologists’ experiences serving on or being reviewed by IRBs. Submissions can be submitted electronically and are still encouraged. On a related issue, the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services released a report in April 2000 on the status of responses to its recommendations to NIH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Protecting Human Research Subjects. The report is available at or by calling (617) 565-1050.