NSF Holds the Line with Congress on Peer Review

As discussed here previously, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, requested “access to the scientific/technical reviews and the Program Officers Review Analysis” for five specific social science awards from the National Science Foundation. According to an article ScienceInsider, in a letter to Rep. Smith, Dr. Cora Marrett, NSF Acting Director, refused to provide the reviewer comments. Her letter is said to have emphasized the need to preserve confidentiality in the peer review process. Dr. Marrett offered to provide information for the committee on the NSF selection process broadly, as well as “general information on how the five grants satisfy NSF’s mission to expand the frontiers of science.” Rep. Smith told ScienceInsider, “I am disappointed the NSF declined to provide Congress with additional information that would show why they are spending taxpayer dollars on specific research grants.” However, aides for Rep. Smith suggested that communication was ongoing.

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