Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
Will Senate COMPETES Bill Narrow Partisan Gap in Congress Over U.S. Research Policy?
May 27, 2016 | Science
A conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat, Senators Cory Gardner (R–CO) and Gary Peters (D–MI), see eye-to-eye on the need for the federal government to strengthen its support of basic research. In the next few weeks, the U.S. Senate is expected to begin rewriting a bill governing federal policies toward research, innovation, and science education, which could help restore a bipartisan consensus on the topic that has been sorely lacking in Congress in recent years.
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
All Scientific Papers to Be Free by 2020 Under E.U. Proposals
May 28, 2016 | The Guardian
All publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe could be made free to access by 2020, under a “life-changing” reform ordered by the European Union’s science chief. The Competitiveness Council, a gathering of ministers of science, innovation, trade and industry, agreed on the target following a two-day meeting last week. The move means publications of the results of research supported by public and public-private funds would be freely available to and reusable by anyone. It could affect the paid-for subscription model used by many scientific journals, and undermine the common practice of releasing reports under embargo.
- Read about the latest neuroscience discoveries at SfN’s open access journal, eNeuro.
Top French Scientists Slam Surprise Budget Cut
May 26, 2016 | Science
Scientists in France are up in arms after the government unexpectedly announced plans to cut €256 million from the country's research funds for this year. The country’s biggest scientists called on the government to reverse the decision as the cuts will “brutally destroy” France's research activities, the signatories warn. The French government says the measure is primarily a bookkeeping maneuver that won't have any practical impact on research activities.
- Find out about worldwide neuroscience initiatives at SfN.org.
Senate Committee Approves Bill to Expand Department of Defense Research into Brain Cancer
May 26, 2016 | PR Newswire
The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved legislation that would include neoplasms, cancers of the nervous system, as eligible disorders of study by the Department of Defense’s Cancer Research Program, mirroring actions taken in the House. The provision includes a $10 million increase from the previous fiscal year. The bill must undergo approval in both the House and Senate prior to approval, yet with neoplasms present on both bills it likely brain cancer funding will be a part of the final provision.
- Watch advocacy webinars on about how to communicate your science at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Neuroscientists and Genetics Illuminate Power of Autism-Linked Gene
May 29, 2016 | Political Lore
A recent report from MIT scientists reveals the integral role of a potential autism gene, Shank3, in the formation and maintenance of synapses in the brain. This gene has been reported to be mutated in a subset of patients, and may serve as a target for future therapies for autism spectrum disorders.
- Read more about autism at BrainFacts.org.
Nation Must Invest in Scientific Research To Cure the Incurable
May 29, 2016 | The Buffalo News
Tomorrow’s cures will be realized only if we prioritize them today. Science is our best weapon against both emerging infectious diseases, such as Zika virus, and chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. The notion that an ounce of prevention equals more than a pound of cure has never been more applicable, and underscores the imperative to accelerate research that helps doctors prevent disease or treat the sick or injured.
- Join the advocacy network to stay informed on issues of science policy at SfN.org
Why Aren’t There More Women in Science?
May 31, 2016 | The Guardian
New Scientist magazine reports that, since 2009, female authorship of scientific papers has started to go down instead of continuing to rise. Further research shows that male and female scientists often have different requirements in working practices to have a successful career, thus women end up being disproportionately disadvantaged in scientific careers.
- Learn about SfN’s efforts to promote women in neuroscience at SfN.org.
May 27, 2016 | Science
In order to reap the benefits of diversity, experts on implicit bias recently gathered for a day-long forum, hosted by AAAS, to examine the extent of this type of bias in the peer-review system and any resolutions that can be developed. The forum featured panelists from several scientific publishers, including: Nature, the NEJM, the ACS, the American Geophysical Union, and Social Psychological and Personality Science. Participants suggested broadening diversity of reviewers and editors to reduce implicit bias, strategies such as these are a step in the right direction to create an unbiased, merit-based publication system.
- Learn more about implicit bias using SfN’s Implicit Bias toolkit on Neuronline.