PNAS Changes Submission Rules, Cancer Researcher Sued

Here's a rundown of some of the stories we've been following on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider:

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences will discontinue a submission option for members that, at its best, repeatedly put prestigious scientists in awkward situations and, at its worst, critics alleged, allowed scientists to ease their way through the peer-review process.

Delivering its summary report yesterday to the White House and NASA, the Augustine commission surprised no one by declaring that the U.S. human space-flight program is "on an unsustainable trajectory." But while its call for a bigger agency budget, its qualms about going to Mars, and its support for commercial involvement received most of the media attention, the report also flags an issue largely neglected during its 2 months of hearings.

A prominent prostate cancer researcher has been sued for allegedly making false claims about a prostate cancer biomarker. In 2001, Robert Getzenberg, now at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, claimed to have found a biomarker called EPCA-2. Now Onconome Inc., based in Redmond, Washington, has sued Getzenberg in federal court for presenting scientific results over 6 years that "were and are imaginary," the lawsuit states.

To the consternation of U.S. environmental groups, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has allowed a plan for offshore aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico to go into effect. The agency also announced that it would create a national policy for offshore aquaculture within the next few months. Environmentalists are urging Congress to give the agency the ability to enforce that policy, a power it does not possess.

The Obama Administration announced that it will retain Thomas D'Agostino as head of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. The decision was met with dismay by many in the arms-control and nonproliferation community, who fear that it will be harder to implement the soaring vision for the nuclear-free future that President Barack Obama has articulated while retaining key figures from the Bush Administration who supported expansion of the country's nuclear arsenal.

The Indian Space Research Organisation announced 31 August that it has the technical capability for a crewless mission to Mars and is asking scientists to suggest experiments.

For more on these stories and the latest science policy news and analysis, visit ScienceInsider.