Science policy news weekly update: January 20, 2017 ?>

Science policy news weekly update: January 20, 2017

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What’s new in Blotter news?

The ASBMB’s director of public affairs, Ben Corb, gives a brief explanation of the ASBMB’s position regarding the use of preprints in NIH grant reviews.

A brief statement regarding the use of preprints in NIH grant review

The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, announces an ASBMB webinar on National Science Foundation funding opportunities.

NSF MCB and CHE program webinar


Despite ongoing Cabinet confirmation hearings and President-elect Donald Trump’s impending inauguration, the new administration has yet to decide who will run the National Institutes of Health. However, in recent days, Trump is said to have met with leading candidates, including U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., current NIH Director Francis Collins, and billionaire surgeon Patrick Soon-Shiong. Aside from these meetings, other potential candidates have been mentioned, including former DARPA biotechnology director Geoffrey Ling and Stanford University epidemiologist and strong proponent of biomedical research reproducibility John Ioannidis. With this news, many in the scientific community believe that Trump is close to deciding who he will have lead the agency.

Surprising contenders emerge for Trump’s NIH chief (Nature)

The aforementioned Senate confirmation hearings have included testimony from appointees who may run some of the nation’s top scientific agencies. These include U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga, who has been nominated for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, R-Okla., as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. During these hearings, senators on the respective subcommittees overseeing these federal agencies had the opportunity to ask the nominees questions on subjects ranging from biomedical research funding to protecting the nation’s air and water quality. Despite the intended purposes of these hearings, both candidates spent the majority of their time defending their character and failed to shed light on important questions regarding their visions for the agencies.

Trump nominees talk science (Nature)

3 critical questions Tom Price didn’t answer at the Health and Human Services hearing (Wired)

This week, preliminary data was published in elife regarding results from the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology. This project, spearheaded by the Center for Open Science and the Science Exchange, aims to collaboratively replicate results from noteworthy cancer biology publications. Interestingly, results from these studies revealed that, due to a wide array of technical issues, reproducibility of published results can be extremely challenging. This, in turn, has led many researchers to confirm their previous concerns that basic biomedical research has a reproducibility problem.

Replication complications (The Scientist)

Rigorous replication efforts succeeds for just two of five cancer papers (ScienceNow)


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