Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy

  • Around Italy, Researchers Rally to Defend Science

    Uphill battle. Scientists held a flash mob on the Spanish Steps in Rome.

    Italia Unita per la corretta informazione scientifica

    Tourists visiting the famous Spanish Steps in Rome on Saturday were treated to an unusual spectacle: Some 30 researchers suddenly showed up, unfolded banners and placards in different languages, and stood motionless on the steps for several minutes. Their flash mob was part of an unprecedented series of events across Italy to protest what organizers say is an antiscientific attitude in Italy and widespread "misinformation" about science in the media.

  • Q&A: David Altshuler on How to Share Millions of Human Genomes

    David Altshuler

    Broad Institute

    It's a comment made over and over by geneticists: To fully understand the role of human genetic variation and its role in disease, researchers need to pool DNA and clinical data from millions of people. Earlier this week, more than 70 research, health care, and patient advocacy organizations, including big players such as the U.S.

  • Auditors Slam Red Tape at E.U. Science Funder

    Framework Program 7/European Union

    BRUSSELS—Scientists seeking grants from the European Union's main research funding program—known as Framework Programme 7 (FP7)—face unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, says the European Union's budget watchdog. In a report presented here today, the European Court of Auditors writes that FP7 procedures remain complex and sometimes inconsistent, despite recent improvements.

  • NASA Narrows Possible Uses for Former Spy Telescopes

    New role. NASA is exploring using a reconfigured spy telescope to search for extrasolar planets, such as the one pictured in this artist's conception.


    NASA has decided that the best use of two space telescopes gifted to it by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)—an intelligence gathering agency—would be to utilize them in a mission to study dark energy and extrasolar planets. Provided the agency can find the money to fund that mission: the proposed Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

  • U.S. Patient Protection Agency Drops Plan to Sanction Leaders of Infant Study

    Breath of life. Controversial study looked at how much oxygen premature infants should receive.


    Under fire from researchers and ethicists, the U.S. government agency responsible for protecting patients involved in scientific studies is backing away from a decision to sanction the leaders of a clinical trial involving premature infants after finding that the researchers failed to disclose the trial's full risks. "We have put on hold all compliance actions," the U.S.

  • Researchers Upbeat About U.S. Plan to Ease Export Rules on Space Technology

    Go for launch? New export rules would ease U.S. efforts to collaborate internationally on space research projects, such as the launch of this science satellite from California in March 2000.

    Diana Helgesen/Sandia National Laboratory

    U.S. scientists and companies could soon find it easier to collaborate with international partners on projects involving potentially sensitive spacecraft technologies.

  • House Panel Questions Obama's Plan to Reorganize Science Education

    Trio under fire.
    Presidential science adviser John Holdren (left) is joined by NSF's Joan Ferrini-Mundy and NASA's Leland Melvin at yesterday's hearing on STEM

    House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

    Democrats and Republicans on the House of Representatives science committee agreed yesterday that the federal government needs to take a more coordinated approach to improving science education. But that's about the only aspect of the Obama administration's proposed reorganization of 226 programs at a dozen agencies that they liked.

  • Scientific Publishers Offer Solution to White House's Public Access Mandate

    OSTP Director John Holdren's memo calls for public access to federally funded research papers.

    M. Hicks/Science

    A group of scientific publishers today announced a plan for allowing the public to read taxpayer-funded research papers for free by linking to journals' own websites. The publishers say that this will eliminate the need for federal agencies to archive the papers themselves to comply with a new government directive. Details are sketchy, however, and it's not yet clear whether the plan will accomplish everything that the government wants from agencies.

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