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US SPARC applauds Congressional passage of the OPEN Government Data Act - 27 Dec 2018

SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, has applauded Congressional passage of the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act. The bill, which is included as Title II of the broader Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, requires federal agencies to publish government data in machine-readable and open formats and use open licenses.

This bill will make information generated by the federal government more accessible and transparent to entrepreneurs, researchers, and others who can use those files - and in doing so, will generate new services and products, build businesses and create jobs.

In addition to assuring that government data is available to the public by default, the OPEN Government Data Act directs agencies to support innovative uses of government data, adopt consistent data practices across government, and develop best practices for Open Data. It also provides much-needed clarity on important foundational policy elements, such as providing clear definitions of covered data and open licenses. And just as critically, it codifies key aspects of President Obama’s 2013 landmark Executive Order on Open Data into permanent statute.

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Regulations, guidelines and other institutional frameworks

More News in this ThemeRegulations, guidelines and other institutional frameworks
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US US federal government shutdown disappoints American Chemical Society - 27 Dec 2018

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is disappointed that the administration and Congress were unable to come to a bipartisan agreement on a funding bill for 2019, forcing a partial shutdown of government operations. ACS has called on both parties to set aside partisan differences and work together to finalise a spending agreement.

The shutdown threatens funding at critical science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Chemical Safety Board.

Moving forward, the Society continues to advocate for sustained funding for science within the US as outlined in its public policy statement Science and Technology in the Budget.

ACS will be closely monitoring this situation and providing updates to its members via Twitter.

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Grants and other research funding

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US Global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high in 2018 with emerging economies rising fastest - 27 Dec 2018

Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively.

China's publications rose by about 15 percent, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8 percent compared with 2017.

Globally, research output rose by around 5 percent in 2018, to an estimated 1,620,731 papers listed in a vast science-citation database Web of Science, the highest ever.

In 1980, only 5 countries did 90 percent of all science - the US, the UK, France, Germany and Japan. Now there are 20 countries within the top producing group.

The estimates were compiled for Nature by Clarivate, which owns Web of Science, and the analysis focused on 40 countries that have at least 10,000 papers in the database. The whole-year projections are based on the number of research and review papers published between January and August, because there is a time lag between papers being published and them appearing in the database.

The figures might also reflect changes in how the database is curated, which has added more local or national journals to the mix. But some geographical regions, notably in Africa, are still under-represented.

Increases in funding and international collaborations might also have boosted the rise in publications in Egypt and Pakistan.

In China, the gains follow two decades of strong policy-driven growth in science and higher education.

It is expected that China might soon overtake the US to become the largest producer of publications - it is now only about 35,000 papers short. By some measures, China has already overtaken the US.

The quality of China's science in terms of citations is also increasing. But for this to continue, the country will need to remain open to global influences. China's censorship of Internet sources has left scientists complaining of blocked databases and limited Internet searches.

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Case Studies/Industry study reports

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Switzerland Swiss National Science Foundation signs new Lead Agency agreement with Poland National Science Centre - 27 Dec 2018

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has signed a Lead Agency agreement with the funding organisation of Poland, the National Science Centre (NCN), to simplify collaboration with Polish researchers.

Under the Lead Agency process, a joint application by researchers in Switzerland and Poland can be submitted to one of the two national research funding organisations. The proposals must have a common research question and a joint research plan. According to the Lead Agency agreement, the parts of the project in the individual countries must not be independent projects that could be carried out in isolation.

The Lead Agency process forms part of the SNSF's project funding scheme and is not a funding scheme in its own right. It does not have its own budget and is subject to the same provisions that govern project funding. Hence applicants may only submit a Lead Agency application if there are no thematic overlaps with applications being evaluated at the SNSF or with ongoing projects.

The SNSF and the NCN have agreed to take turns as the Lead Agency on a yearly basis. The application process is governed by the provisions in force at the relevant organisation. Costs are calculated on the basis of the relevant national guidelines. In 2019, the SNSF will act as the Lead Agency. The deadline for submission is October 1, 2019.

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Partnership programs / consortiums

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