Lone Star State Showdown: Congresswoman Johnson Defends NSF’s Merit Review Process

Congresswoman Johnson (D-TX)
October 2014

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, released a letter late last month that she wrote to Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). The letter expresses concern over the chairman’s ongoing “investigation” into the merit review process at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and criticism of individual grants funded by NSF.

Johnson’s letter was written in response to Smith’s third request in 18 months for NSF to provide the committee with confidential, pre-decisional, merit review documents for 30 additional grants. Smith has previously asked for documentation on 25 grants. Johnson posted online all of the correspondence between Smith and NSF regarding the grants in question.

“Congresswoman Johnson is raising questions that simply need to be asked,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine.

AERA has expressed concerns previously about what appear to be attacks on the integrity of the peer-review process and about the continued questioning of a world-class agency without evidence offered that it has strayed from its mission.