AERA Takes Action on Research Policy Areas
AERA Takes Action on Research Policy Areas

November 2018

During November, AERA signed on to and submitted comments on important research and statistical policy issues that impact education researchers.

Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset

AERA submitted comments on the draft practices of the Federal Data Strategy, part of the President’s Management Agenda goal of “Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset.” (See related Highlights story “AERA Participates in Public Forum on Federal Data Strategy.”) AERA provided examples and suggested action items for federal agencies working to advance the Federal Data Strategy. As reported in August 2018 Highlights, AERA also submitted comments on “Phase 1, the Draft Principles for Federal Agencies.” In January 2019, the agencies expect to issue the principles and practices of the Federal Data Strategy and solicit feedback for a draft Year 1 Action Plan.

NIH Clinical Trial Policy

AERA joined 45 scientific associations and universities on a letter, led by the Council on Governmental Relations and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences, to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) opposing the classification of basic research studies involving human participants as clinical trials. The letter also seeks a delay of the release of funding announcements that “do not accept and enforce” the distinction between basic science and clinical trials.

NIH sought comments on proposed registration and reporting requirements for basic research studies that include human participants. The letter explained some of the additional burdens that basic scientists will be facing by registering studies through, noting that the platform “does not easily lend itself to reporting basic science research where the parameters are frequently adjusted, and it contains many variables that are irrelevant in these basic research contexts.”

The organizations recommend that NIH require reporting of basic science studies involving human participants in a way that “avoids subjecting these studies to clinical trial requirements and is developed in consultation with stakeholders.”

As noted in October 2018 Highlights, NIH expanded the definition of a clinical trial to include basic science involving human participants and has begun implementation. NIH also announced an enforcement delay for these studies to September 24, 2019.

Protecting the USDA Economic Research Service in FY 2019 Appropriations

AERA joined 60 organizations on a letter to the House and Senate leadership of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies requesting that no FY 2019 funds be used to relocate or realign the Economic Research Service (ERS).  The Department of Agriculture is one of the agencies operating under the continuing resolution that expires on December 7.

ERS is one of the 13 principal federal statistical agencies, providing social and economic data of interest to AERA members. AERA signed on to a letter in September to leaders of the House and Senate committees with oversight of the Department of Agriculture to oppose the proposals to relocate ERS from the DC-metro area.

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