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And a Board to Oversee

To grapple with the regulatory burden US researchers bear, a National Academy committee suggests that Congress set up a public-private Research Policy Board, ScienceInsider reports.

Working with the Office of Management and Budget, the board would develop new regulations and harmonize existing ones as well as examine the effects of current rules and gauge those of proposed rules, it adds. But as research institutes would fund the board, it would have a level of independence that government agencies don't.

It'd be in the same vein as the Financial Accounting Standards Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission, ScienceInsider notes. "I've been fascinated by the way the financial community has created this officially sanctioned but privately staffed body to work on things," says former University of Texas President Larry Faulkner, who chaired the committee. "You have the government oversight and connections you need, but because it's privately financed you can also have whatever staff you need."

The committee also recommends new roles for inspectors general within oversight offices, so that they focus on identifying abuse, fraud, and waste as well as on advising on economy, efficiency, and effectiveness, the Chronicle of Higher Education adds.