Public Affairs

NIH Wants to Hear from You!

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) is inviting comments and suggestions on its implementation plans of recommendations it received from a subcommittee to ensure a sustainable biomedical research workforce. The Committee has reviewed the recommendations and is moving ahead with plans to:

  • Provide better support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, both financially and academically;
  • Improve data collection on graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and career outcomes for individuals supported by NIH;
  • Revise key standards in training grant applications by including tracking outcomes for all students in a program and considering a range of career outcomes as indicators of success; and
  • Start a discussion with the extramural biomedical research community to assess the construct of NIH support of the biomedical community,
  • including faculty salaries.

The Working Group wants to hear from all stakeholders, including students, postdoctorates, scientists, and the general public. To read the request in full and submit comments, please visit You do not have to comment on all the recommendations; you are free to selectively respond to those of interest to you. Comments are due April 22.

White House Extends Open Access Policies Government-wide

In a memorandum issued on February 22, John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House, directed federal agencies with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to make journal articles resulting from federally-funded research publicly available free-of-charge within a year of original publication. The requirements are similar to those that have been in effect at the NIH since 2008. Unlike at NIH, though, agencies do not need to create their own repositories but are encouraged to partner with scientific societies, publishers, and other private entities in doing so. This will minimize the significant costs incurred by federal agencies that have built repositories that are redundant with those of scientific societies.

The Society’s journal, Biophysical Journal, currently makes all papers available to the public free-of-charge after 12 months and submits those papers to NIH’s repository, PubMedCentral, as a service to authors.

Holdren announced the new policy on the White House’s “We the People” website, where proponents of increased access to federally funded research findings had created a petition on this topic with over 65,000 signatures. In that announcement, Holdren noted that the policy was developed to “strike the balance between the extraordinary public benefit of increasing public access to the results of federallyfunded scientific research and the need to ensure that the valuable contributions that the scientific publishing industry provides are not lost.”

In addition to requiring public access to scientific publications, the memorandum requires federal agencies to examine ways to improve how scientific data produced with federal funding is managed and shared.

Agencies must submit their plans to increase access to the results of federally-funded scientific research to OSTP by August 22, 2013, but the plans must not require additional federal investment.

The memorandum can be read in its entirety at The Biophysical Journal’s embargo and open access policies can be found at

Ernest Moniz Nominated as Secretary of Energy

President Obama announced Ernest Moniz as his pick to replace Steve Chu as Secretary of Energy in early March. Describing Moniz as a “brilliant scientist,” the President lauded Moniz for his work at the Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, adding, “Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water, and our climate.” Moniz also has previous federal experience, having served as the Associate Director for Science at the Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton administration.

Moniz is currently a professor of physics and engineering systems, director of the Energy Initiative, and director of the Laboratory for Energy and Environment at MIT. Moniz received his PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

The nomination is subject to confirmation by the US Senate.

April 2013 Table of Contents