WASHINGTON –The presidents of three of the country’s top research universities gathered for a public discussion Tuesday, dedicating some of their most in-depth comments to concerns about federal policy.
The presidents of Harvard, Stanford and Ohio State Universities took part in a wide-ranging discussion on the future of higher education hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. While they covered a lot of ground, they delivered their most timely remarks while addressing worries about cuts to federal research funding and possible changes in immigration policy that could affect the students at their institutions.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are toughening their financial conflict-of-interest policies after publishing reports that some critics have said are tainted by undisclosed corporate influences.
The 154-year-old scientific academy, chartered by Congress during the Lincoln administration, has long enjoyed a reputation as a top-quality producer of in-depth, impartial academic analyses on a range of national policy questions.
But that reputation has been challenged by complaints about two reports — one on medical pain relief and another on genetically modified organisms — whose authors’ ties to industry were not made clear.
The Chronicle of Higher Education Lindsay McKenzie
April 6, 2017
Open-access advocates have had several successes in the past few weeks. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started its own open-access publishing platform, which the European Commission may replicate. And librarians attending the Association of College and Research Libraries conference in March were glad to hear that theOpen Access Button, a tool that helps researchers gain free access to copies of articles, will be integrated into existing interlibrary-loan arrangements.
Another initiative, called Unpaywall, is a simple browser extension, but its creators, Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar, say it could help alter the status quo of scholarly publishing.
Big gifts to higher education last year topped $6 billion for the first time, continuing a postrecession surge in eight- and nine-figure donations to colleges and universities even as data suggest giving from their smaller contributors is declining.
Donors made 194 gifts of $10 million or more to higher education last year, also a new high, according anew surveyby Marts & Lundy, a fundraising-consulting firm. A decade ago, just before the Great Recession, higher education received just 124 gifts of that size.
Medical research can’t be done in the dark. But should taxpayers be covering the light bills at university labs across the country?
The Trump administration’s answer is no. The president has proposed a massive $7 billion budget cut for the National Institutes of Health over the next 18 months. And Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price said this week that he may find those savings in the “indirect expenses” that NIH funds, which includes everything from buying lab equipment to paying the electric bills for thousands of academic research labs from Harvard to Ohio State to Stanford.
The Trump administration’s plan to cut billions of dollars in research spending by eliminating indirect cost reimbursements would devastate university science, especially at public institutions, experts warned.
The U.S. secretary for health and human services, Tom Price, told Congress this week that the idea is to save taxpayers money while giving them the same amount of research activity. Indirect cost payments are funds spent on "something other than the research that’s being done," Dr. Price told a House of Representatives subcommittee on health appropriations on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, just a short walk from the White House, Richard M. Shiffrin led dozens of his academic colleagues through a three-day examination of the trustworthiness of science.
He’s not totally sure it was a good idea.
The colloquium that Mr. Shiffrin and two colleagues organized at the National Academy of Sciences headquarters was planned long before Donald J. Trump took up residence in the nearby executive mansion, capping a campaign that repeatedly challenged science and facts as basic tools of understanding.