In a December 11 letter to the leaders of universities and heads of other organizations that receive National Science Foundation (NSF) research funding, NSF announced that it would be taking steps to enhance the agency’s transparency and accountability, by “examining process improvements for defining research priorities and objectives at all levels of the organization and at all stages of merit review.”
These steps, NSF believes, will give the research community a “greater understanding and knowledge of the priorities and objectives of our research programs,” and help the agency “enhance our public communications of what we are funding and why it is important.”
NSF’s immediate focus will be on improving the clarity of research abstracts, ensuring that they clearly articulate the context and justification for public funding. This process, which will involve feedback from the research community, may result in the adoption of new policies and processes.
In the letter, NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett made the point multiple times of welcoming the community’s thoughts and suggestions.