A coalition of 110 scientific organizations signed a letter in defense of peer review at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSC Alliance was one of the organizations that signed the letter. The letter was prompted by recent congressional actions that called into question the merit review process used by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award research grants.
“It is imperative that NSF’s system of support for basic research be based upon excellence, competitive scientific merit, and peer-review,” states the letter. “While Congress does play an important role in oversight of federally funded research, it should avoid legislative attempts that could undermine a decades-long system of success and ultimately impede discovery and innovation.”
Among the congressional actions that prompted concern within the scientific community is the High Quality Research Act, a draft bill that would require the director of NSF to certify that any grant is in the best interests of the United States, not duplicative of other research efforts, and of the highest quality.
Three former directors of NSF and three former chairmen of the National Science Board spoke out against the draft bill in a recent letter to the leaders of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The former NSF leaders said that the draft bill would have “a chilling and detrimental impact on the merit-based review process.”