Friday, 19 Aug 94 Washington, DC
1. CAP ON ENERGY RESEARCH EVAPORATES AS HOUSE FEELS THE HEAT!
When the energy research authorization bill (H.R. 4908) finally
reached the floor this morning, it was clear that something had
happened overnight. Robert Walker (R-PA) had been expected to
introduce an amendment freezing all DOE research for four years
(WN 12 Aug 94).
The bill already included a cap on energy supply
research. By last night, however, opposition from the academic
scientific community had begun to erode Walker's support. When
George Brown (D-CA) let it be known that he and Marilyn Lloyd (D-
TN) were planning to introduce an amendment removing even the cap
on energy supply R&D, Walker agreed to drop his amendment if they
dropped theirs. In her floor speech, Lloyd expressed hope that
the energy supply cap could be eliminated in conference. Clearly
rankled by the outside pressure, Walker then introduced an anti-
lobbying amendment but it went down on a largely party-line vote.
2. HOUSE/SENATE CONFEREES REACH AGREEMENT ON $3.4B NSF BUDGET!
That's not only 14% above this year's budget, its 6% more than
the President requested. That's good, but maybe not as good as
it sounds. The big increases are in Infrastructure and Major
Equipment, which have a low outlay
(WN 15 Jul 94). That simply
delays the problem to the next year. Research is about 3% below
the request, while Education is funded 3.4% above the request,
which has been the pattern for the past several years. It will be
next week before we have further details. The recommendation of
the Conference committee must still be approved by both houses.
3. ARTICLES RANKING PHYSICS JOURNALS ARE "PROTECTED FREE SPEECH"!
Six years ago, Henry Barschall, a retired University of Wisconsin
physics professor, compared the "cost-effectiveness" of physics
journals, based on the cost to libraries per printed character
compared to the frequency of citation. Journal scores varied by
an astounding factor of 850
(WN 2 Mar 90)! The American Physical
Society and the American Institute of Physics, whose own journals
turned out to be most cost effective, published the comparison.
Librarians, who have been squeezed by falling budgets and rising
subscription costs, honored Barschall for his "contributions to
research libraries and the scholarly academic community"
(WN 11 May 90).
But Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, whose journals
came out at the very bottom, filed suit against Barschall, APS
and AIP in Swiss, German and French courts, claiming publication
of the article constituted unfair competition. A year ago, after
failing to get satisfaction abroad, Gordon and Breach brought
suit in the U.S. On Monday, a Federal judge in Manhattan ruled
that non-profit organizations "must be free to publish on any
topic, even those that redound to their financial benefit."
4. ANNE PETERSEN WAS SWORN-IN AS NSF DEPUTY DIRECTOR YESTERDAY.
She is one of the nation's leading researchers of adolescence.