Science and Education Groups Raise Concerns on Proposed Visa Policies

AAAS joined with 55 groups to voice concerns about proposed changes to U.S. visa policy via a public comment letter submitted to the U.S. Department of State. Read more on AAAS.org.

“Dear Assistant Secretary Risch,
We, the 55 undersigned organizations that, in turn, represent over 1.5 million members combined, write to express our concerns regarding the Notice of Proposed Information Collection…”

 

Check out AAAS’ statement on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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EPA Scientific Transparency Rule and Public Comment

As reported in this week's AAAS Policy Alert 5-1-18.pdf, the Environmental Protection Agency recently posted in the Federal Register for public comment a proposed rule that would require the EPA “to ensure that the regulatory science underlying its action is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.” The agency is proposing that data, associated protocols, computer codes and models, recorded factual materials, and “detailed descriptions of how to access and use such information” be publicly available for it to be utilized in EPA policies and regulations. The proposed rule notes that information made public must be “consistent with law” and should protect privacy, national and homeland security interests and confidential business information. AAAS CEO Rush Holt issued a statement expressing concern that this “proposal appears to be an attempt to remove valid and relevant scientific evidence from the rule-making process.” In addition, the journal Science, along with other scholarly journals, issued a statement in response to Administrator Pruitt’s assertion that the proposed EPA policy reflects the standards of peer-reviewed scientific journals. Public comments are due May 30, 2018, and AAAS encourages its members to review the proposal and submit comments as appropriate.

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AAAS Statement on Travel of Chinese Researchers to the United States

AAAS Statement on Travel of Chinese Researchers to the United States

“Scientific progress depends on openness, transparency and the free flow of ideas; these principles have helped the United States to attract and benefit from international scientific talent. Students and scientists from other countries strengthen U.S. innovation. We are concerned about news reports that the U.S. administration is considering further restrictions on visas that could limit the travel of Chinese students and scholars from China to the United States. To remain the world leader in advancing scientific knowledge and innovation while ensuring national security, the U.S. science and technology enterprise must continue to capitalize on the international and multicultural environment within which it operates. We strongly recommend that the administration work with the scientific community to assess and develop potential policy actions that advance our nation’s prosperity. Where specific and confirmed espionage is occurring, action must be taken, but obstructing scientific exchange based on non-specific concerns that could be applied to broad swaths of people is ill-conceived and damaging to American interests.”

– Rush Holt, chief executive officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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Science joint statement on recent EPA regulations

We are writing in response to a proposed rule announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 24 April 2018 press release (1). The release reads, “The rule will ensure that the regulatory science underlying Agency actions is fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.”

Data sharing is a feature that contributes to the robustness of published scientific results. Many peer-reviewed scientific journals have recently adopted policies that support data sharing, consistent with the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) standards. These standards, however, recognize the array of workflows across scientific fields and make the case for data sharing at different levels of stringency; in not every case can all data be fully shared. Exceptional circumstances, where data cannot be shared openly with all, include data sets featuring personal identifiers.

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AAAS Connects Scientists and Students with Classroom Science Days

When scientists deliver talks to middle and high school students for AAAS’ Classroom Science Days, everyone learns something, students and scientists alike.

This year’s event, which took place in Texas in February in conjunction with the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, brought 32 scientists into middle and high school classrooms across Austin, Dallas and Houston reaching more than 5,000 students – a significant jump from the 20 scientists who participated in Boston in 2017.

The goals of the 25-year-old program are multi-faceted, said AAAS Project Director Rebekah Corlew. One aspect of Classroom Science Days is to connect underserved students with practicing scientists. Meeting scientists – and learning about their successes and struggles – can help students see themselves as future scientists, Corlew said.

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Proposed Changes to Nonimmigrant Visa Application

on March 30, the Department of State published a proposal in the Federal Register to change the Nonimmigrant Visa (DS-160) application to include information on social media platforms utilized by the applicant going back five years. The request raises some concerns including how to address simple errors versus misrepresentation of information. AAAS commented on a previous proposal to gather such information last year. The deadline to submit comments is May 29.

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AAAS Urges U.S. Policymakers to Lift Restrictions on Gun Violence Research

While our nation considers how to address gun violence, it is important to remember that scientific research can help us understand risk factors and the impacts of gun policy interventions at federal, state and local levels,” said Rush Holt, chief executive officer of AAAS, in a March 13 letter sent to President Donald Trump and congressional leadership

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