Federal Research: Peer Review Practices at Federal Science Agencies Vary.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIV
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The federal government will invest 80 billion in fiscal year 1999 on research and development RD performed by government scientists and through grants, contracts, or other agreements with universities, corporations, small businesses, and other members of the research community. The results of this research can become the impetus for change in federal policies, regulations, and programs. For example, research in medicine, aviation, and agriculture affect policy or regulatory decisions for drug and airline safety and pesticide use. Thus, the Congress and the public rely on federal agencies to fund and conduct research that produces high-quality results. To help ensure the quality and integrity of the research, U.S. science has traditionally relied on independent reviews by peers. This report responds to your request that we study the peer review and other quality assurance processes that federal agencies use in conducting scientific research and development. Specifically, as agreed with your offices, we 1 determine what is meant by peer review, 2 describe the federal governments peer review policy, 3 describe the peer review practices of 12 federal agencies that conduct scientific research, 4 describe other agency quality assurance reviews and 5 identify which research is not subjected to review.
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