About the Natural Science Collections Alliance


The Natural Science Collections Alliance is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit association that supports natural science collections, their human resources, the institutions that house them, and their research activities for the benefit of science and society.

Our members are part of an international community of museums, botanical gardens, herbariums, universities and other institutions that house natural science collections and utilize them in research, exhibitions, academic and informal science education, and outreach activities.

Membership in the NSC Alliance links you to a network of institutions, scientists and other professionals in North America through which you can share news, information and common concerns - and help shape the future of our community.

 


NSC Alliance in the News



Published on 24 Jan 2019

Update on NEON Biorepository Rolling Launch

In August 2018, Arizona State University’s (ASU) Biocollections and Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center was selected by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) leadership to be the NEON Biorepository, potentially for the full 30-year duration of the project. More information about the rolling launch of the NEON Biorepository is now available online.

The NEON Biorepository represents a unique collection of biological samples with more than 100,000 samples of 40-45 types collected on an annual basis. These samples are directly tied to the research design and purpose of the NEON project to facilitate long-term ecological monitoring/forecasting on a continental scale. Therefore, the available specimens will be representative of populations and communities and associated with high-resolution environmental data. The samples are expected and need to be used now and very frequently to fulfill their scientific and societal promise.

Researchers interested in using the NEON Biorepository samples are encouraged to reach out to Nico Franz at nico.franz@asu.edu. Additionally, the link below provides answers to several questions about the NEON Biorepository (e.g. location, accessing samples, personnel, etc.), and how it is similar and different from other collections.

https://biokic.asu.edu/blog/neon-biorepository-rolling-launch-update

Published on 24 Jan 2019

Participate in 2019 Congressional Visits Day

NSC Alliance members are invited to participate in the 2019 Congressional Visits Day organized by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). The event will be held on March 27, with supplemental training available on March 25-26.

The event allows you to meet with your members of Congress to help them understand the important role the federal government plays in supporting the biological sciences. Advocate for federal investments in biological sciences research supported by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies.

Participants will complete a communications and advocacy training program provided by AIBS that prepares them to be effective advocates for their science. AIBS also provides participants with background information and materials, as well as arranges meetings with lawmakers. On March 27, scientists will participate in meetings with their Representative and Senators.

Supplemental training program: In conjunction with the 2019 AIBS Congressional Visits Day, AIBS is offering its highly acclaimed Communications Boot Camp for Scientists. This professional development training course will be offered on March 25-26. All participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion indicating that they have successfully completed 12 hours of communications training. This professional development training program provides practical instruction and interactive exercises designed to help scientists (e.g. researchers, graduate students, professionals, educators) translate scientific information for non-technical audiences and to effectively engage with decision-makers and the news media. As affiliate members of AIBS, NSC Alliance members can register for the training at a discounted rate.

Scientists and graduate students who are interested in communicating the importance of federal investments in scientific research and education to lawmakers are encouraged to participate in this important event.

Express your interest in participating in the event by registering. Registration will close on February 8, 2019. Space is limited and it may not be possible to accommodate the participation of all interested individuals.

Register at: https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressional_visits_day.html

Published on 02 Nov 2018

Job Opening: Program Specialist at IMLS Office of Museum Services

The Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is seeking a Program Specialist. In this full-time permanent position, the incumbent will participate in grants management work involving Federal grants and cooperative agreements and provide grants-related assistance and services to both applicants and awardees. The position requires working on various phases of the receipt and processing of museum grant applications as well as the monitoring and assessing of awardee performance.

The deadline for submitting applications is November 15, 2018. For more information on the required qualifications and how to submit your application, go to: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/515727800

Published on 02 Nov 2018

Save the Date: 99th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists

The Centennial Celebration and 99th annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) will take place June 28th – July 2nd, 2019 in Washington, DC. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill.

The ASM was established in 1919 for the purpose of promoting interest in the study of mammals and is composed of ~2,500 members, many of whom are professional scientists.

Information on sponsoring this conference is available at http://www.mammalmeetings.org/sponsor-exhibitor-information/.

Please save the date and watch for further announcements regarding abstract submissions and registration at http://www.mammalmeetings.org/

Published on 22 Oct 2018

National Museum and Library Services Board Meeting Announced

The National Museum and Library Services Board will be meeting on November 1, 2018 to advise the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on duties, powers, and authority of IMLS relating to museum, library, and information services. The Board will also discuss coordination of activities for the improvement of these services.

The first half of the meeting is open to the public and will begin at 9:00 AM Eastern Time. This will be followed by a closed Executive session. The location for the meeting is 955 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Suite 4000, Washington, DC 20024. Please contact Katherine Maas at kmaas@imls.gov if you would like to attend the public session of the meeting.

For more information visit https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-10-17/html/2018-22618.htm.

Published on 19 Oct 2018

Interior Announces “Open Science” Policy

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has adopted a new policy it contends will improve transparency and public access to scientific research. The “open science” order was signed by Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on September 28, 2018. Similar to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule “Increasing Transparency in Regulatory Science,” DOI’s order requires that scientific data used in policy decisions be reproducible and made publicly accessible.

“Any decision that is based on scientific conclusions that are not supported by publicly available raw data, analysis, or methodology, have not been peer reviewed, or are not readily reproducible should include an explanation of why such science is the best available information,” states the order. Interior officials said that the policy would boost public confidence in the agency’s decision-making and increase accountability.

“This order came about in response to perennial concerns that the department has not been providing sufficient information to the public to explain how and why it reaches certain conclusions, or that it is cherry picking science to support pre-determined outcomes,” said Interior spokesperson Faith Vander Voort. “The goal is for the department to play with its cards face-up, so that the American people can see how the department is analyzing important public policy issues and be confident that it is using the best information available to inform its decisions.”

The order could restrict how DOI agencies use certain research findings and will set new data disclosure requirements for Interior grant recipients.

The new order allows for exceptions and states that the data requirements may be “waived, in whole or in part, by the Deputy Secretary upon a written determination that a waiver is necessary and the least restrictive means of protecting privacy, confidentiality, including confidential business information and trade secrets; national security, and homeland security.”

The order has been criticized as a move to restrict the use of scientific findings in decision-making at Interior. “The ‘Promoting Open Science’ order signed on Friday should be named the ‘Removing Science from DOI’ order, as it simply slashes agencies’ ability to rely on, conduct and analyze science under a pretense of increased transparency,” said Tina Swanson, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Science Center.

“They want everything publicly accessible, including the raw data, and that just doesn’t happen with peer-reviewed science, because that just doesn’t tell you anything,” said Charise Johnson, a researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It also makes it look like they don’t trust their own scientists’ work.”

Unlike the EPA’s proposed “secret science” rule, which involved a public comment period, DOI’s order became effective immediately.

Published on 19 Oct 2018

Congress Averts Government Shutdown

Congress has approved and the President has signed a $853 billion spending package, which includes a stop-gap spending measure to avert a partial government shutdown. The short-term funding measure provides level funding for the government programs for which an appropriations bill had not been passed and signed into law prior to October 1.

The House approved this spending package by a 361-61 vote on September 26. The Senate had approved it a week earlier. President Trump signed the package on September 28 saying, “We’re going to keep the government open.”

The spending package includes fiscal year (FY) 2019 Defense, Labor-Health and Human Services, and Education spending bills along with the stop-gap continuing resolution (CR). The CR provides funding for Interior-EPA, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Financial Services, Commerce-Justice-Science, State-Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security at FY 2018 levels until December 7. There will be a lame-duck session after the November elections to finish work on FY 2019 appropriations.

This is the second spending package that Congress has sent to the President. The first included the Energy-Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch spending bills for FY 2019 and was signed into law by President Trump on September 21.

Published on 17 Sep 2018

Special Request to NSC Alliance Members

The NSC Alliance has been contacted by a National Academies study committee that would like to receive additional information from taxonomists and collections curators. Please consider sharing your thoughts and recommendations to the request below. Send all information no later than Friday, September 28, 2018, to rgropp@aibs.org. NSC Alliance will compile all information and transmit it to the study committee in one package.

The committee is looking into the “taxonomic status of the red wolf and the Mexican gray wolf. The committee is interested in the views of taxonomists and museum curators on the concept of subspecies. Specifically, what criteria are most often deployed in recognizing subspecies. If the subspecies designation is no longer viewed as useful, what, if anything, has replaced it and to what extent are those designations being sustained or submerged in official taxonomic records.”

Published on 13 Sep 2018

Collections and Education – Upcoming BCoN Webinar

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) will convene a series of webinar programs in 2018 to share information about BCoN activities with the community and to receive community input on prior and pending BCoN programs. These webinars will include a formal presentation followed by an opportunity for participants to ask questions and share information. All programs will be recorded and posted to the BCoN website.

Five webinars have already been held. Recordings of past webinars are available here.

The next program will be on September 19 and will focus on new opportunities for education and outreach as a result of natural history collections and the mobilization of specimen and occurrence-based data.

Click here for more information regarding the webinar series and to register.

Published on 13 Sep 2018

National Fossil Day is October 17

National Fossil Day, an annual celebration organized by the National Park Service, will take place on October 17, 2018. National Fossil Day is a nationwide celebration that will include paleontology activities planned by partner organizations across the United States.

NSC Alliance has a short document about the scientific value of fossil collections.

The participation of local museums, universities, and other scientific organizations is central to National Fossil Day. Help your local community learn about local paleontological and natural resources by participating in the event.

To join as a partner for National Fossil Day, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/events.htm.

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