NSC Alliance Launches Campaign for an Executive Order from President Obama on Science Collections

During the past year, the NSC Alliance Board of Directors has monitored the work of the federal government’s Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections (IWGSC).  This panel, whose charter expired at the end of the Bush Administration, recently released survey results that in conjunction with recent survey findings from the National Science Foundation (NSF) demonstrate a need for increased federal planning, policy coordination, and sustained investments in our nation’s scientific collections.  Additionally, the results of a 2008 NSC Alliance survey of the impacts of the nation’s economic condition on science collections further demonstrate a need for a strategic and coordinated national policy structure to preserve and advance the research and education missions of our nation’s natural science collections.

The NSC Alliance Board of Directors has met with various senior federal officials involved with the IWGSC and NSF efforts to gather data that will help inform public policy initiatives that will better serve the needs of natural science collections.  As a result of these meetings, discussions with NSC Alliance member organizations, and informal talks with leaders from other scientific societies, the NSC Alliance has set as a policy priority the issuance by President Obama of an Executive Order promoting the preservation and use of science collections.

On June 24, 2009, NSC Alliance President William Y. Brown sent a letter to Dr. John Holdren, Science Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, requesting that the formal process required to promulgate an Executive Order be initiated. At a July 13, 2009, Washington, DC, reception to celebrate the release of the IWGSC report, “Scientific Collections: Mission Critical Infrastructure for Federal Science Agencies,” Brown and NSC Alliance Director of Policy Robert Gropp spoke with Dr. Holdren and other senior government officials about the need for an Executive Order.

NSC Alliance is now gathering organizational endorsements of the Executive Order.  These statements of support are important because they demonstrate a broad recognition of need and depth of support for the Executive Order.  Thus, NSC Alliance member organizations are encouraged to review the proposed Executive Order and to send a letter of support to NSC Alliance, c/o Robert Gropp, AIBS, 1444 I Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20005.  These letters will be compiled and provided to the White House and other key federal agency officials.

Please click here to read the proposed Executive Order and the NSC Alliance letter sent to Dr. Holdren.

Please click here for a sample letter of support.