Issue 12 (June 11)


Comments Sought on Federal Data Strategy Action Plan

The White House is seeking public comment on its Draft 2019-2020 Federal Data Strategy Action Plan. The Federal Data Strategy, which is being coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is a “ten-year vision for how the Federal government will accelerate the use of data to support the foundations of democracy, deliver on mission, serve the public, and steward resources while protecting security, privacy and confidentiality.” The Strategy consists of 10 principles, and 40 best practices to guide federal agencies on how to leverage the value of their data. The next phase in the Strategy’s implementation is the development of a first-year Action Plan, which details concrete steps to align existing efforts and establish a firm basis of tools, processes, and capacities to leverage data as a strategic asset. The action plan also incorporates several mandated actions from the recently-passed Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.

The proposed actions are:

Shared Actions: Government-wide Data Services

  • Action 1: Create an OMB Data Council
  • Action 2: Develop a Curated Data Science Training and Credentialing Catalog
  • Action 3: Develop a Data Ethics Framework
  • Action 4: Develop a Data Protection Toolkit
  • Action 5: Develop a Repository of Federal Data Strategy Resources and Tools
  • Action 6: Pilot a One-stop Standard Research Application
  • Action 7: Pilot an Automated Inventory Tool for
  • Action 8: Pilot Standard Data Catalogs for

Community Actions: Cross-Agency Collaboration

  • Action 9: Improve Data Resources for AI Research and Development
  • Action 10: Improve Financial Management Data Standards
  • Action 11: Improve Geospatial Data Standards

Agency-Specific Actions: Agency Activities

  • Action 12: Constitute a Diverse Data Governance Body
  • Action 13: Assess Data and Related Infrastructure Maturity
  • Action 14: Identify Opportunities to Increase Staff Data Skills
  • Action 15: Identify Data Needs to Answer Key Agency Questions
  • Action 16: Identify Priority Datasets for Agency Open Data Plans

Comments are sought on whether the proposed actions accurately describe the needed activities, if any actions should be added or removed, and on what resources would be needed to implement the actions. Comments should be submitted by July 5, 2019. Full details are available on the Federal Data Strategy Website.

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COSSA Creates New Portal to Collect Social Science Success Stories

COSSA has created a new portal for members and other stakeholders to share stories of social science successes to aid in its work to promote the value of the social and behavioral sciences to Congress, the White House, Executive Branch agencies, and the public. COSSA is seeking tangible examples from the social and behavioral sciences to help make the case that federal investment in these sciences is not only a wise use of taxpayer dollars, but that this research yields results that make the nation and world healthier, safer, and more prosperous.

Anyone interested in furthering the social and behavioral sciences is invited to submit stories through the COSSA website—whether it be a research success, an example of how social science is being used effectively in your community, an educational experience or teacher who shaped the trajectory of your social science career, or any other experience or activity that showcases the many positive impacts the social and behavioral sciences make to all aspects of life. Submission are only be viewable by the COSSA staff. Submitters will be contacted if COSSA is interested in using their stories in public materials.

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COSSA Executive Director Featured in “When Science Speaks” Podcast

Wendy Naus, COSSA Executive Director, was featured on a recent episode of the When Science Speaks podcast on “How to Engage in Effective Science Advocacy.” Her conversation with host Mark Bayer of Bayer Strategic Consulting focused on ways to successfully convey the importance of science to policymakers and what effective science advocacy entails. More information about the “When Science Speaks” podcast can be found on its website.

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Still Time to Register for June’s Headlines Webchat

headlines bannerCOSSA members are invited to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on June 13, in which COSSA staff will recap the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, including successes in this year’s appropriations season so far, new opportunities to weigh in on the government’s Federal Data Strategy, and more, and answer your questions. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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COSSA Submits Testimony to Senate in Support of Funding for NIH, CDC, ED, BLS

As it does each year, COSSA submitted outside witness testimony to the Congressional Appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding federal agencies important to the social sciences. On June 3, COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies calling for increased fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and International Education and Foreign Language Programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays).

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FY 2020 Agriculture Bill Advances in House

The House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill on June 4. This bill contains funding for the two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistical agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as well as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which funds competitive research projects. The bill was marked up in subcommittee on May 23.

At a Glance…

  • The bill contains language prohibiting the move of ERS and NIFA outside of the National Capital Region. The House Agriculture Committee is also investigating this issue and held a hearing on June 5 on “Examining the Impacts of Relocating USDA Research Agencies on Agriculture Research.”
  • The House bill would provide ERS with $87.8 million, a 1.2 percent increase from FY 2019 and a rejection of the steep cuts proposed by the Administration.
  • The bill would provide NASS with $180.8 million, an increase of $6.3 million and $17.8 million above the Administration’s request.
  • The House mark would provide NIFA with a total of $1.6 million in discretionary funds, a $142.8 million increase for the agency compared to FY 2019 and $222.4 million above the Administration’s request.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Foreign Threats to Taxpayer-Funded Research

On June 5, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing to discuss the espionage of publicly funded medical research by foreign governments as well as potential oversight or policy solutions. Witnesses present were Assistant Deputy Secretary for National Security at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Captain Michael Schmoyer, Principal Deputy Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Chief of Investigative Operations at the HHS Office of Inspector General Les Hollie, Deputy Assistant Director of Homeland Security Investigations at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Louis Rodi, and Associate Director for Biophysical Oncology at the Knight Cancer Institute and Oregon Health & Science University Biomedical Engineering Director Dr. Joe Gray. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) was invited to testify but declined the invitation.

Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) both expressed concerns with foreign research espionage and questioned the witnesses on the investigations of the 61 identified espionage cases. Some of the issues raised during the hearing included the cooperation between the FBI and federal agencies, the investigative infrastructure at federal agencies, common indicators of federal grant fraud, and the cooperation of universities with federal espionage investigations. Following the hearing, the Committee met in closed session to discuss classified information with the witnesses. A written statement from Grassley along with witness testimonies and a recording of the open hearing can be found on the Committee’s website.

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NSF Seeks Input into 2026 Idea Machine Entries

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has reviewed the first round of submissions to the 2026 Idea Machine and now seeks the public’s input on which proposals should advance to the next round. As COSSA has reported, the Idea Machine is a competition to help set the agenda for fundamental research in U.S. science and engineering for the next decade, including the next set of Big Ideas. NSF received more than 800 idea submissions; 33 are still in the running for the grand prize, including projects involving the social and behavioral sciences. Volunteers can assist NSF by watching entrants’ video pitches, commenting on the potential impact of their Big Ideas, and providing suggestions on how the entries can be improved. Video pitches can be watched and reviewed online until June 26, 2019.

More information can be found on the NSF website.

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NCES Releases Condition of Education Report

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released the 2019 Condition of Education report. This Congressionally-mandated annual report summarizes important developments and trends in education. The report covers 48 indicators on topics ranging from prekindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. The report also includes two “Spotlight” indicators, postsecondary enrollment for adults raised in high- and low-income socioeconomic families and postsecondary outcomes for nontraditional students, for which more in-depth analysis is provided. The complete report is available on the NCES website.

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COSSA Welcomes SAGE Publishing

sage-1180x518_cCOSSA is pleased to welcome SAGE Publishing as its newest affiliate. SAGE is a leading publisher of research in the social sciences. SAGE has joined under COSSA’s new affiliate membership category, which invites users of social science findings and other stakeholders to join in COSSA’s advocacy on behalf of the social and behavioral science community. COSSA’s full membership list is available here. Information on how to join can be found on the COSSA website.

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CJRA and COSSA to Host “Ask a Criminologist” Panel Exploring the Connection Between Immigration and Crime

COSSA and the Crime & Justice Research Alliance (CJRA) (a collaborative effort of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology, both COSSA members) will host the fourth in a series of “Ask a Criminologist” Congressional briefings on Monday, June 24. This interactive briefing will explore the relationships between immigration trends, policies, and public safety. The discussion will be moderated by CJRA Past Chair Dr. Nancy La Vigne of the Urban Institute and Dr. Anthony Peguero of Virginia Tech University. Featured speakers will include Dr. Daniel E. Martinez of the University of Arizona, Dr. Janice Iwama of American University, and Edward Flynn, former Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department. More information and a link to RSVP can be found here.

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