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A No-go

The US National Science Foundation has declined to supply Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) with the reviewer comments concerning five research grants that the agency has funded, ScienceInsider writes. Smith previously said that those five grants do not appear to adhere to the intellectual guidelines that NSF follows; similarly, he is also seeking to impose greater oversight and accountability on the agency through legislation.

According to ScienceInsider, NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett wrote a letter to Smith that "defended the need to preserve the confidentiality of the peer-review process," in which Marrett noted that reviewers are given anonymity to encourage candid appraisals of grant proposals. Marrett said, though, that she could brief the science committee, which Smith chairs, on how NSF chooses what applications to fund as well as general information regarding how those five grants of fit into NSF's mission.

In a statement, Smith tells ScienceInsider that he is "disappointed the NSF declined to provide Congress with additional information that would show why they are spending taxpayer dollars on specific research grants."