Since my prior post about the National Science Foundation’s consultation on its merit review criteria, NSF released a proposed set of revised criteria which aim to clarify and simply the criteria and their purpose. Unfortunately, the revised criteria would remove the current criteria’s consideration that the project’s results should be broadly disseminated. This would be a step backward for the free flow of scientific information unless NSF strongly urges broad dissemination in the accompanying guidance it expects to release.
On July 17, I submitted these comments on the proposed revisions:
I am disappointed that the National Science Foundation’s proposed Merit Review Principles and Criteria removes the criteria’s reference to the broad dissemination of results. NSF should retain and strengthen this consideration of merit review, as I wrote in my previous comments to the Task Force on Merit Review; see http://www.gavinbaker.com/2011/03/15/nsf-review/. Broad dissemination must be a high priority for NSF-funded research.
If NSF proceeds with the proposed criteria, it should ensure that its guidance for investigators, reviewers, and staff resolutely expresses the importance of ensuring the broadest possible access to research results. As I wrote in my previous comments, this should include updating the list of representative activities provided to investigators, particularly to encourage investigators to provide open access to their publications.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed merit review criteria. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.