Commenting has been a little slower than we were bracing for given the levels of participation on other blogs talking about DEB topics, or even other federal research agency blogs. In response to a couple of comments about discussing broader issues, we wanted to open up the floor to hear from you on anything DEB-related you want to discuss. We included some links and a synopsis of two topics making the rounds, Open Access and Sequestration, below the fold but other topics are welcome too.
The recently released OSTP (White House) directive on Open Access for federally-supported research, read NSF’s official statement here, starts the ball rolling on policies to ensure publications and resources produced with Federal funds are made freely available. While OA is something that has been on the radar for a while, putting a formal plan in place promises an exciting few months. We will try to let you know via the blog of opportunities to contribute to the official discussion. In the meantime, informal discussion is welcome.
It sounds like most of you are already aware of the government-wide budget sequester and quite a few are talking about it: here and here and here. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the official NSF notice on impacts. We wanted to add a little bit to the sequestration chatter from the program perspective.
There are two separate “Federal budget” happenings related to the current fiscal year. While the sequester has gotten a lot of the press lately, we do not have an actual budget for FY2013. Instead, we are operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that runs until March 27th. The current CR essentially says agencies have the same budgets they did in FY2012 but can only use those budgets until March 27th. Something has to happen before that date (either another CR with a later end date, or enacting an actual budget) to enable the government to continue operating beyond the 27th. Whatever is done to keep the government running through the end of the year could potentially decrease, increase, or keep flat funding levels from FY2012.
Because of the FY2013 budget uncertainties, we have been working with only 80% of what we had in FY2012. This is nothing new; we have had a CR most years for the last decade or so and each time operate with a reduced budget until we have authority to carry us through the year. But, it is important because it interacts with the sequester.
According to the official NSF notice on impacts, the sequester will take ~5% from 100% of the FY2012 funding level. It is not a decrease out of the 80% we have been working with in FY2013. The practical message is that the sequester does not mean cuts to any DEB awards that were made in prior years and is not canceling new awards NSF has already made this year. Awards recommendations that are working their way through the system will also not be impacted by the sequester. There is even a potential, but no guarantee, that once all is said and done we will be able to support a few more awards later in the year. The actual impact in terms of gross number of awards, number of PIs supported, etc. in DEB won’t be known until after September 30th, but keep in mind that 1000 fewer awards across the agency is only an estimate.
That’s it from us for now. You are welcome to bring up anything broadly DEB-related in the comments. Remember, you can comment anonymously – none of the identifying information needs to be filled out.