Request for Information on the American Research Environment, 65194-65197 [2019-25604]

Download as PDF 65194 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 26, 2019 / Notices SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Docketed Proceeding(s) I. Introduction The Commission gives notice that the Postal Service filed request(s) for the Commission to consider matters related to negotiated service agreement(s). The request(s) may propose the addition or removal of a negotiated service agreement from the market dominant or the competitive product list, or the modification of an existing product currently appearing on the market dominant or the competitive product list. Section II identifies the docket number(s) associated with each Postal Service request, the title of each Postal Service request, the request’s acceptance date, and the authority cited by the Postal Service for each request. For each request, the Commission appoints an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in the proceeding, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505 (Public Representative). Section II also establishes comment deadline(s) pertaining to each request. The public portions of the Postal Service’s request(s) can be accessed via the Commission’s website (http:// www.prc.gov). Non-public portions of the Postal Service’s request(s), if any, can be accessed through compliance with the requirements of 39 CFR 3007.301.1 The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service’s request(s) in the captioned docket(s) are consistent with the policies of title 39. For request(s) that the Postal Service states concern market dominant product(s), applicable statutory and regulatory requirements include 39 U.S.C. 3622, 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR part 3010, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. For request(s) that the Postal Service states concern competitive product(s), applicable statutory and regulatory requirements include 39 U.S.C. 3632, 39 U.S.C. 3633, 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR part 3015, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. Comment deadline(s) for each request appear in section II. II. Docketed Proceeding(s) 1. Docket No(s).: MC2020–34 and CP2020–32; Filing Title: USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Contract 564 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing Materials Under Seal; Filing 1 See Docket No. RM2018–3, Order Adopting Final Rules Relating to Non-Public Information, June 27, 2018, Attachment A at 19–22 (Order No. 4679). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Nov 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 Acceptance Date: November 20, 2019; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq., and 39 CFR 3015.5; Public Representative: Kenneth R. Moeller; Comments Due: December 2, 2019. This Notice will be published in the Federal Register. Darcie S. Tokioka, Acting Secretary. [FR Doc. 2019–25630 Filed 11–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710–FW–P Washington, DC, via teleconference. The Board determined that no earlier public notice was practicable. General Counsel Certification: The General Counsel of the United States Postal Service has certified that the meeting may be closed under the Government in the Sunshine Act. CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION: Michael J. Elston, Acting Secretary of the Board, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20260–1000. Telephone: (202) 268– 4800. POSTAL SERVICE Michael J. Elston, Acting Secretary. Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement [FR Doc. 2019–25758 Filed 11–22–19; 4:15 pm] Postal ServiceTM. ACTION: Notice. BILLING CODE 7710–12–P AGENCY: The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule’s Competitive Products List. DATES: Date of required notice: November 26, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sean Robinson, 202–268–8405. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on November 20, 2019, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a USPS Request to Add Priority Mail Contract 564 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2020–34, CP2020–32. SUMMARY: Sean Robinson, Attorney, Corporate and Postal Business Law. [FR Doc. 2019–25590 Filed 11–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710–12–P POSTAL SERVICE Board of Governors; Sunshine Act Meeting November 18, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. PLACE: Washington, DC. STATUS: Closed. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: 1. Administrative Items. 2. Financial Matters. 3. Strategic Matters. On November 18, 2019, a majority of the members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service voted unanimously to hold and to close to public observation a special meeting in TIME AND DATE: PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY Request for Information on the American Research Environment Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). ACTION: Notice of request for information (RFI) on the American research environment AGENCY: On behalf of the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC’s) Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), the OSTP requests input on actions that Federal agencies can take, working in partnership with private industry, academic institutions, and non-profit/ philanthropic organizations, to maximize the quality and effectiveness of the American research environment. Specific emphasis is placed on ensuring that the research environment is welcoming to all individuals and enables them to work safely, efficiently, ethically, and with mutual respect, consistent with the values of free inquiry, competition, openness, and fairness. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 11:59 p.m. ET on December 23, 2019. ADDRESSES: Comments submitted in response to this notice may be submitted online to: the NSTC Executive Director, Chloe Kontos, JCORE@ostp.eop.gov. Email submissions should be machinereadable [pdf, word] and not copyprotected. Submissions should include ‘‘RFI Response: JCORE’’ in the subject line of the message. Instructions: Response to this RFI is voluntary. Each individual or institution is requested to submit only one response. Submission must not exceed SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 26, 2019 / Notices 10 pages in 12 point or larger font, with a page number provided on each page. Responses should include the name of the person(s) or organization(s) filing the comment. Comments containing references, studies, research, and other empirical data that are not widely published should include copies or electronic links of the referenced materials. It is suggested that no business proprietary information, copyrighted information, or personally identifiable information be submitted in response to this RFI. In accordance with FAR 15.202(3), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Federal Government to form a binding contract. Additionally, those submitting responses are solely responsible for all expenses associated with response preparation. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information, please direct your questions to the NSTC Executive Director, Chloe Kontos, JCORE@ ostp.eop.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NSTC established JCORE in May 2019. JCORE is working to address key areas that impact the U.S. research enterprise; enabling a culture supportive of the values and ethical norms critical to world-leading science and technology. This includes the need to improve safety and inclusivity, integrity, and security of research settings while balancing accountability and productivity. Specifically, JCORE is working to: • Ensure rigor and integrity in research: This subcommittee is identifying cross-agency principles, priorities, and actions to enhance research integrity, rigor, reproducibility, and replicability. This includes exploring how Federal government agencies and stakeholder groups, including research institutions, publishers, researchers, industry, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and others, can work collaboratively to support activities that facilitate research rigor and integrity through efforts to address transparency, incentives, communication, training and other areas. • Coordinate administrative requirements for Federally-funded research: This subcommittee is identifying and assessing opportunities to coordinate agency policies and requirements related to Federal grant processes and conflicts of interest disclosure. Additionally, this subcommittee is also exploring how persistent digital identifiers and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Nov 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 researcher profile databases can be used to reduce administrative work and track agency investments. • Strengthen the security of America’s S&T research enterprise: This subcommittee is working to enhance risk assessment and management, coordinate outreach and engagement across the research enterprise, strengthen disclosure requirements and policies, enhance oversight and vigilance, and work with organizations that perform research to develop best practices that can be applied across all sectors. The subcommittee is taking a risk-based approach to strengthening the security of our research enterprise balanced with maintaining appropriate levels of openness that underpins American global leadership in science and technology. • Foster safe, inclusive, and equitable research environments: This subcommittee is convening the multisector research community to identify challenges and opportunities, share best practices, utilize case studies, and share lessons learned in order to promote practices and cultures that build safe, inclusive, and equitable research environments. Research Rigor and Integrity The National Academies and others have in recent reports on rigor, reproducibility and replicability 1 and integrity,2 identified a number of areas that Federal agencies and non-Federal stakeholders should consider to foster rigorous research. The subcommittee on Rigor and Integrity in Research is seeking perspectives on actions Federal agencies can take, working in partnership with the broader research community, to strengthen the rigor and integrity of research while recognizing the need for discipline-specific flexibilities. 1. What actions can Federal agencies take to facilitate the reproducibility, replicability, and quality of research? What incentives currently exist to (1) conduct and report research so that it can be reproduced, replicated, or generalized more readily, and (2) reproduce and replicate or otherwise confirm or generalize publicly reported research findings? 2. How can Federal agencies best work with the academic community, professional societies, and the private sector to enhance research quality, reproducibility, and replicability? What are current impediments and how can 1 National Academy of Sciences. Reproducibility and Replicability in Science (2019) 2 National Academy of Sciences. Fostering Integrity in Research (2017) PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65195 institutions, other stakeholders, and Federal agencies collaboratively address them? 3. How do we ensure that researchers, including students, are aware of the ethical principles of integrity that are fundamental to research? 4. What incentives can Federal agencies provide to encourage reporting of null or negative research findings? How can agencies best work with publishers to to facilitate reporting of null or negative results and refutations, constraints on reporting experimental methods, failure to fully report caveats and limitations of published research, and other issues that compromise reproducibility and replicability? 5. How can the U.S. government best align its efforts to foster research rigor, reproducibility, and replicability with those of international partners? Coordinating Administrative Requirements for Research Numerous reports and recommendations, including from the National Academies,3 the National Science Board,4 and the Government Accountability Office,5 have highlighted concerns about increasing administrative work for Federallyfunded researchers. Congress has directed Federal agencies to reduce the administrative burden associated with Federal awards through the 21st Century Cures Act (Pub. L. 114–25) and the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (Pub. L. 114–329). Despite these efforts, preliminary reports from the Federal Demonstration Partnership indicate that the time university faculty spend administering Federal awards, rather than on research, has continued to increase. Taking into consideration the current Federal landscape with respect to individual Federal agency financial conflict of interest (FCOI) regulations and policies, including definitions, disclosure or reporting requirements and thresholds, training requirements, and timing for disclosure, please comment on the following: 1. What actions can the Federal government take to reduce administrative work associated with FCOI requirements for researchers, institutions, and Federal agency staff? 2. How can Federal agencies best achieve the appropriate balance 3 National Academies report Optimizing the Nation’s Investment in Academic Research (2016). 4 National Science Board report Reducing Investigators’ Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research (2014). 5 Government Accountability Office report Federal Research Grants: Opportunities Remain for Agencies to Streamline Administrative Requirements (2016). E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1 65196 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 26, 2019 / Notices between reporting and administrative requirements and the potential risk of unreported or managed financial conflicts that could compromise the research? 3. From the perspective of institutions, describe the impact of the 2011 revisions to the Public Health Services FCOI regulations. What were the implications with respect to the balance between burden and risk? Did the revisions result in fewer significant unresolved or unreported financial conflicts? 4. Please comment on whether and how a streamlined, harmonized, Federal-wide policy for FCOI would provide benefits with respect to reducing administrative work and whether there would be anticipated challenges. 5. How can agencies best reduce workload associated with submitting and reviewing applications for Federal research funding? What information is necessary to assess the merit of the proposed research, and what information can be delayed until after the merit determination is made (‘‘justin-time’’)? Research Security The open and internationally collaborative nature of the U.S. science and technology research enterprise underpins America’s innovation, science and technology leadership, economic competitiveness, and national security. However, over the past several years, some nations have exhibited increasingly sophisticated efforts to exploit, influence, our research activities and environments. Some of these recent efforts have come through foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs. Breaches of research ethics, both within talent programs and more generally, include the failure to disclose required information such as foreign funding, unapproved parallel foreign laboratories (so-called shadow labs), affiliations and appointments, and conflicting financial interests. Other inappropriate behaviors include conducting undisclosed research for foreign governments or companies on United States agency time or with United States agency funding, diversion of intellectual property or other legal rights, and breaches of contract and confidentiality in or surreptitious gaming of the peer-review process. In light of these concerns, we seek public input on the following questions: 1. How can the U.S. Government work with organizations that perform research to manage and mitigate the risk of misappropriation of taxpayer or other VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Nov 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 funds through unethical behaviors in the research enterprise? Please consider: a. Disclosure requirements and policies. Who within the research enterprise should disclose financial as well as nonfinancial support and affiliations (e.g., faculty, senior researchers, postdoctoral researchers, students, visitors)? What information should be disclosed, and to whom? What period of time should the disclosure cover? How should the disclosures be validated especially since they are made voluntarily? What are appropriate consequences for nondisclosure? b. Disclosure of sources of support for participants in the research enterprise. What additional sources of support should be disclosed, and should they include current or pending participation in foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs? c. What information can the government provide to organizations that perform research to help them assess risks to research security and integrity? 2. How can the U.S. government best partner across the research enterprise to enhance research security? Please consider: a. Appropriate roles and responsibilities for government agencies, institutions, and individuals; b. Discovery of and communication of information regarding activities that threaten the security and integrity of the research enterprise; and c. Establishment and operation of research security programs at organizations that perform research. 3. What other practices should organizations that perform research adopt and follow to help protect the security and integrity of the research enterprise? Please consider: a. Organization measures to protect emerging and potentially critical earlystage research and technology. b. How can Federal agencies and research institutions measure and balance the benefits and risks associated with international research cooperation? Safe and Inclusive Research Environments JCORE is focused on identifying actions that will ensure research environments in America are free from harassment of any kind, and from any conditions that encourage or tolerate harassment or other forms of behavior that are inconsistent with the ethical norms of research. The aim is to foster an American research enterprise, which epitomizes our values and those of research itself, namely, where researchers feel welcome and are PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 encouraged to join, wish to remain, and subsequently thrive. To achieve this, leaders must create a research environment that welcomes all individuals, values their ideas, treats individuals as equals, and promotes bold thinking, rigorous and civil debate, and collegiality. With this focus in mind, we seek the public’s input on the following questions: 1. What policies and practices are most beneficial in fostering a culture of safe and inclusive research environments? Where applicable, please provide information on: a. Organizational leadership actions that create a culture of inclusivity; b. Best practices for preventing harassment from beginning; c. Best practices for prohibiting retaliation against those who report harassment; d. Best practices for re-integrating those who have been accused of harassment but found to be innocent; e. Whether your organization has a common code of ethics applicable to researchers, and whether that code is highlighted and actively promoted in training, research practice, etc; f. How institution-based procedures for reporting cases of sexual harassment and non-sexual harassment (or toxic climate) differ, and if there are aspects of one set of policies that would be beneficial for broader inclusion. 2. What barriers does your organization face in the recruitment and retention of diverse researchers? Where applicable, please provide information on: a. The setting to which it applies (i.e., academic, industry, etc.); b. Whether your organization has best practices or challenges specific to recruitment and retention of global talent; c. Solutions your organization has used to successfully increase recruitment or retention of diverse and/ or international researchers; d. Best practices to promote bold thinking and enable collegiality in debate. 3. Are Federal agency policies on harassment complimentary or conflicting with regard to state or organizational policies? Where applicable, please provide information on: a. What aspects are in conflict, along with the associated agency policy; b. What aspects are most protective and make policy reasonable to implement; c. What processes have effectively streamlined the administrative workload associated with implementation, compliance, or reporting. E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 26, 2019 / Notices 4. What metrics can the Federal government use to assess progress in promoting safer and more inclusive research environments? Where applicable, please provide information on: a. What methods your organization uses to assess workplace climate; b. What systems within your organization were developed to enforce and/or report back to agencies; c. What metrics does your organization uses to assess effectiveness of safe and inclusive practices; d. What actions does your organization take communicate climate survey results, both within your organization and to external stakeholders? Sean Bonyun, Chief of Staff, Office of Science and Technology Policy. [FR Doc. 2019–25604 Filed 11–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Investment Company Act Release No. 33702; 812–14957] North Square Investments Trust, et al.; Notice of Application November 21, 2019. Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Notice of an application under section 6(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (‘‘Act’’) for an exemption from section 15(a) of the Act, as well as from certain disclosure requirements in rule 20a–1 under the Act, Item 19(a)(3) of Form N–1A, Items 22(c)(1)(ii), 22(c)(1)(iii), 22(c)(8) and 22(c)(9) of Schedule 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (‘‘1934 Act’’), and sections 6–07(2)(a), (b), and (c) of Regulation S–X (‘‘Disclosure Requirements’’). Applicants: North Square Investments Trust (the ‘‘Trust’’), a Delaware statutory trust registered under the Act as an open-end management investment company with multiple series (each a ‘‘Fund’’) and North Square Investments, LLC (‘‘Adviser’’), a Delaware limited liability company registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (‘‘Advisers Act’’) that serves an investment adviser to the Funds (collectively with the Trust, the ‘‘Applicants’’). Summary of Application: The requested exemption would permit VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Nov 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 Applicants to enter into and materially amend subadvisory agreements with subadvisers without shareholder approval and would grant relief from the Disclosure Requirements as they relate to fees paid to the subadvisers. Filing Dates: The application was filed on September 27, 2018, and amended on April 12, 2019, July 19, 2019, August 27, 2019, and October 24, 2019. Hearing or Notification of Hearing: An order granting the application will be issued unless the Commission orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing by writing to the Commission’s Secretary and serving Applicants with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the Commission by 5:30 p.m. on December 16, 2019, and should be accompanied by proof of service on the Applicants, in the form of an affidavit or, for lawyers, a certificate of service. Pursuant to rule 0– 5 under the Act, hearing requests should state the nature of the writer’s interest, any facts bearing upon the desirability of a hearing on the matter, the reason for the request, and the issues contested. Persons who wish to be notified of a hearing may request notification by writing to the Commission’s Secretary. ADDRESSES: Secretary, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549–1090. Applicants: Alan E. Molotsky, Esq., North Square Investments, LLC, 10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1925, Chicago, IL 60603. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephan N. Packs, Senior Attorney, at (202) 551–6853, or David J. Marcinkus, Branch Chief, at (202) 551–6825 (Division of Investment Management, Chief Counsel’s Office). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained via the Commission’s website by searching for the file number or an Applicant using the ‘‘Company’’ name box, at http://www.sec.gov/ search/search.htm or by calling (202) 551–8090. I. Requested Exemptive Relief 1. Applicants request an order to permit the Adviser,1 subject to the 1 The term ‘‘Adviser’’ means (i) the Initial Adviser, (ii) its successors, and (iii) any entity controlling, controlled by or under common control with, the Initial Adviser or its successors that serves as the primary adviser to a Subadvised Fund. For the purposes of the requested order, ‘‘successor’’ is limited to an entity or entities that result from a reorganization into another jurisdiction or a change in the type of business organization. Any other Adviser also will be registered with the PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65197 approval of the board of trustees of each Trust (collectively, the ‘‘Board’’),2 including a majority of the trustees who are not ‘‘interested persons’’ of the Trust or the Adviser, as defined in section 2(a)(19) of the Act (the ‘‘Independent Trustees’’), without obtaining shareholder approval, to: (i) Select investment subadvisers (‘‘Subadvisers’’) for all or a portion of the assets of one or more of the Funds pursuant to an investment subadvisory agreement with each Subadviser (each a ‘‘Subadvisory Agreement’’); and (ii) materially amend Subadvisory Agreements with the Subadvisers. 2. Applicants also request an order exempting the Subadvised Funds (as defined below) from the Disclosure Requirements, which require each Fund to disclose fees paid to a Subadviser. Applicants seek relief to permit each Subadvised Fund to disclose (as a dollar amount and a percentage of the Fund’s net assets): (i) The aggregate fees paid to the Adviser and any Wholly-Owned Subadvisers; and (ii) the aggregate fees paid to Affiliated and Non-Affiliated Subadvisers (‘‘Aggregate Fee Disclosure’’).3 Applicants seek an exemption to permit a Subadvised Fund to include only the Aggregate Fee Disclosure.4 3. Applicants request that the relief apply to Applicants, as well as to any future Fund and any other existing or future registered open-end management investment company or series thereof that intends to rely on the requested order in the future and that: (i) Is advised by the Adviser; (ii) uses the multi-manager structure described in the application; and (iii) complies with the terms and conditions of the Commission as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act. 2 The term ‘‘Board’’ also includes the board of trustees or directors of a future Subadvised Fund (as defined below), if different from the board of trustees (‘‘Trustees’’) of the Trust. 3 A ‘‘Wholly-Owned Subadviser’’ is any investment adviser that is (1) an indirect or direct ‘‘wholly-owned subsidiary’’ (as such term is defined in the Act) of the Adviser, (2) a ‘‘sister company’’ of the Adviser that is an indirect or direct ‘‘wholly-owned subsidiary’’ of the same company that indirectly or directly wholly owns the Adviser (the Adviser’s ‘‘parent company’’), or (3) a parent company of the Adviser. An ‘‘Affiliated Subadviser’’ is any investment subadviser that is not a Wholly-Owned Subadviser, but is an ‘‘affiliated person’’ (as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act) of a Subadvised Fund or the Adviser for reasons other than serving as investment subadviser to one or more Funds. A ‘‘Non-Affiliated Subadviser’’ is any investment adviser that is not an ‘‘affiliated person’’ (as defined in the Act) of a Fund or the Adviser, except to the extent that an affiliation arises solely because the Subadviser serves as a subadviser to one or more Funds. 4 Applicants note that all other items required by sections 6–07(2)(a), (b) and (c) of Regulation S–X will be disclosed. E:\FR\FM\26NON1.SGM 26NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 228 (Tuesday, November 26, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65194-65197]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-25604]


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OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY


Request for Information on the American Research Environment

AGENCY: Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

ACTION: Notice of request for information (RFI) on the American 
research environment

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: On behalf of the National Science and Technology Council's 
(NSTC's) Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), the OSTP 
requests input on actions that Federal agencies can take, working in 
partnership with private industry, academic institutions, and non-
profit/philanthropic organizations, to maximize the quality and 
effectiveness of the American research environment. Specific emphasis 
is placed on ensuring that the research environment is welcoming to all 
individuals and enables them to work safely, efficiently, ethically, 
and with mutual respect, consistent with the values of free inquiry, 
competition, openness, and fairness.

DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 
11:59 p.m. ET on December 23, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Comments submitted in response to this notice may be 
submitted online to: the NSTC Executive Director, Chloe Kontos, 
[email protected]. Email submissions should be machine-readable [pdf, 
word] and not copy-protected. Submissions should include ``RFI 
Response: JCORE'' in the subject line of the message.
    Instructions: Response to this RFI is voluntary. Each individual or 
institution is requested to submit only one response. Submission must 
not exceed

[[Page 65195]]

10 pages in 12 point or larger font, with a page number provided on 
each page. Responses should include the name of the person(s) or 
organization(s) filing the comment. Comments containing references, 
studies, research, and other empirical data that are not widely 
published should include copies or electronic links of the referenced 
materials.
    It is suggested that no business proprietary information, 
copyrighted information, or personally identifiable information be 
submitted in response to this RFI.
    In accordance with FAR 15.202(3), responses to this notice are not 
offers and cannot be accepted by the Federal Government to form a 
binding contract. Additionally, those submitting responses are solely 
responsible for all expenses associated with response preparation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information, please 
direct your questions to the NSTC Executive Director, Chloe Kontos, 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NSTC established JCORE in May 2019. JCORE is 
working to address key areas that impact the U.S. research enterprise; 
enabling a culture supportive of the values and ethical norms critical 
to world-leading science and technology. This includes the need to 
improve safety and inclusivity, integrity, and security of research 
settings while balancing accountability and productivity.
    Specifically, JCORE is working to:
     Ensure rigor and integrity in research: This subcommittee 
is identifying cross-agency principles, priorities, and actions to 
enhance research integrity, rigor, reproducibility, and replicability. 
This includes exploring how Federal government agencies and stakeholder 
groups, including research institutions, publishers, researchers, 
industry, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, and others, can 
work collaboratively to support activities that facilitate research 
rigor and integrity through efforts to address transparency, 
incentives, communication, training and other areas.
     Coordinate administrative requirements for Federally-
funded research: This subcommittee is identifying and assessing 
opportunities to coordinate agency policies and requirements related to 
Federal grant processes and conflicts of interest disclosure. 
Additionally, this subcommittee is also exploring how persistent 
digital identifiers and researcher profile databases can be used to 
reduce administrative work and track agency investments.
     Strengthen the security of America's S&T research 
enterprise: This subcommittee is working to enhance risk assessment and 
management, coordinate outreach and engagement across the research 
enterprise, strengthen disclosure requirements and policies, enhance 
oversight and vigilance, and work with organizations that perform 
research to develop best practices that can be applied across all 
sectors. The subcommittee is taking a risk-based approach to 
strengthening the security of our research enterprise balanced with 
maintaining appropriate levels of openness that underpins American 
global leadership in science and technology.
     Foster safe, inclusive, and equitable research 
environments: This subcommittee is convening the multi-sector research 
community to identify challenges and opportunities, share best 
practices, utilize case studies, and share lessons learned in order to 
promote practices and cultures that build safe, inclusive, and 
equitable research environments.

Research Rigor and Integrity

    The National Academies and others have in recent reports on rigor, 
reproducibility and replicability \1\ and integrity,\2\ identified a 
number of areas that Federal agencies and non-Federal stakeholders 
should consider to foster rigorous research. The subcommittee on Rigor 
and Integrity in Research is seeking perspectives on actions Federal 
agencies can take, working in partnership with the broader research 
community, to strengthen the rigor and integrity of research while 
recognizing the need for discipline-specific flexibilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ National Academy of Sciences. Reproducibility and 
Replicability in Science (2019)
    \2\ National Academy of Sciences. Fostering Integrity in 
Research (2017)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. What actions can Federal agencies take to facilitate the 
reproducibility, replicability, and quality of research? What 
incentives currently exist to (1) conduct and report research so that 
it can be reproduced, replicated, or generalized more readily, and (2) 
reproduce and replicate or otherwise confirm or generalize publicly 
reported research findings?
    2. How can Federal agencies best work with the academic community, 
professional societies, and the private sector to enhance research 
quality, reproducibility, and replicability? What are current 
impediments and how can institutions, other stakeholders, and Federal 
agencies collaboratively address them?
    3. How do we ensure that researchers, including students, are aware 
of the ethical principles of integrity that are fundamental to 
research?
    4. What incentives can Federal agencies provide to encourage 
reporting of null or negative research findings? How can agencies best 
work with publishers to to facilitate reporting of null or negative 
results and refutations, constraints on reporting experimental methods, 
failure to fully report caveats and limitations of published research, 
and other issues that compromise reproducibility and replicability?
    5. How can the U.S. government best align its efforts to foster 
research rigor, reproducibility, and replicability with those of 
international partners?

Coordinating Administrative Requirements for Research

    Numerous reports and recommendations, including from the National 
Academies,\3\ the National Science Board,\4\ and the Government 
Accountability Office,\5\ have highlighted concerns about increasing 
administrative work for Federally-funded researchers. Congress has 
directed Federal agencies to reduce the administrative burden 
associated with Federal awards through the 21st Century Cures Act (Pub. 
L. 114-25) and the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (Pub. L. 
114-329). Despite these efforts, preliminary reports from the Federal 
Demonstration Partnership indicate that the time university faculty 
spend administering Federal awards, rather than on research, has 
continued to increase.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ National Academies report Optimizing the Nation's Investment 
in Academic Research (2016).
    \4\ National Science Board report Reducing Investigators' 
Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research (2014).
    \5\ Government Accountability Office report Federal Research 
Grants: Opportunities Remain for Agencies to Streamline 
Administrative Requirements (2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Taking into consideration the current Federal landscape with 
respect to individual Federal agency financial conflict of interest 
(FCOI) regulations and policies, including definitions, disclosure or 
reporting requirements and thresholds, training requirements, and 
timing for disclosure, please comment on the following:
    1. What actions can the Federal government take to reduce 
administrative work associated with FCOI requirements for researchers, 
institutions, and Federal agency staff?
    2. How can Federal agencies best achieve the appropriate balance

[[Page 65196]]

between reporting and administrative requirements and the potential 
risk of unreported or managed financial conflicts that could compromise 
the research?
    3. From the perspective of institutions, describe the impact of the 
2011 revisions to the Public Health Services FCOI regulations. What 
were the implications with respect to the balance between burden and 
risk? Did the revisions result in fewer significant unresolved or 
unreported financial conflicts?
    4. Please comment on whether and how a streamlined, harmonized, 
Federal-wide policy for FCOI would provide benefits with respect to 
reducing administrative work and whether there would be anticipated 
challenges.
    5. How can agencies best reduce workload associated with submitting 
and reviewing applications for Federal research funding? What 
information is necessary to assess the merit of the proposed research, 
and what information can be delayed until after the merit determination 
is made (``just-in-time'')?

Research Security

    The open and internationally collaborative nature of the U.S. 
science and technology research enterprise underpins America's 
innovation, science and technology leadership, economic 
competitiveness, and national security. However, over the past several 
years, some nations have exhibited increasingly sophisticated efforts 
to exploit, influence, our research activities and environments. Some 
of these recent efforts have come through foreign government-sponsored 
talent recruitment programs. Breaches of research ethics, both within 
talent programs and more generally, include the failure to disclose 
required information such as foreign funding, unapproved parallel 
foreign laboratories (so-called shadow labs), affiliations and 
appointments, and conflicting financial interests. Other inappropriate 
behaviors include conducting undisclosed research for foreign 
governments or companies on United States agency time or with United 
States agency funding, diversion of intellectual property or other 
legal rights, and breaches of contract and confidentiality in or 
surreptitious gaming of the peer-review process.
    In light of these concerns, we seek public input on the following 
questions:
    1. How can the U.S. Government work with organizations that perform 
research to manage and mitigate the risk of misappropriation of 
taxpayer or other funds through unethical behaviors in the research 
enterprise? Please consider:
    a. Disclosure requirements and policies. Who within the research 
enterprise should disclose financial as well as nonfinancial support 
and affiliations (e.g., faculty, senior researchers, postdoctoral 
researchers, students, visitors)? What information should be disclosed, 
and to whom? What period of time should the disclosure cover? How 
should the disclosures be validated especially since they are made 
voluntarily? What are appropriate consequences for nondisclosure?
    b. Disclosure of sources of support for participants in the 
research enterprise. What additional sources of support should be 
disclosed, and should they include current or pending participation in 
foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs?
    c. What information can the government provide to organizations 
that perform research to help them assess risks to research security 
and integrity?
    2. How can the U.S. government best partner across the research 
enterprise to enhance research security? Please consider:
    a. Appropriate roles and responsibilities for government agencies, 
institutions, and individuals;
    b. Discovery of and communication of information regarding 
activities that threaten the security and integrity of the research 
enterprise; and
    c. Establishment and operation of research security programs at 
organizations that perform research.
    3. What other practices should organizations that perform research 
adopt and follow to help protect the security and integrity of the 
research enterprise? Please consider:
    a. Organization measures to protect emerging and potentially 
critical early-stage research and technology.
    b. How can Federal agencies and research institutions measure and 
balance the benefits and risks associated with international research 
cooperation?

Safe and Inclusive Research Environments

    JCORE is focused on identifying actions that will ensure research 
environments in America are free from harassment of any kind, and from 
any conditions that encourage or tolerate harassment or other forms of 
behavior that are inconsistent with the ethical norms of research. The 
aim is to foster an American research enterprise, which epitomizes our 
values and those of research itself, namely, where researchers feel 
welcome and are encouraged to join, wish to remain, and subsequently 
thrive. To achieve this, leaders must create a research environment 
that welcomes all individuals, values their ideas, treats individuals 
as equals, and promotes bold thinking, rigorous and civil debate, and 
collegiality. With this focus in mind, we seek the public's input on 
the following questions:
    1. What policies and practices are most beneficial in fostering a 
culture of safe and inclusive research environments? Where applicable, 
please provide information on:
    a. Organizational leadership actions that create a culture of 
inclusivity;
    b. Best practices for preventing harassment from beginning;
    c. Best practices for prohibiting retaliation against those who 
report harassment;
    d. Best practices for re-integrating those who have been accused of 
harassment but found to be innocent;
    e. Whether your organization has a common code of ethics applicable 
to researchers, and whether that code is highlighted and actively 
promoted in training, research practice, etc;
    f. How institution-based procedures for reporting cases of sexual 
harassment and non-sexual harassment (or toxic climate) differ, and if 
there are aspects of one set of policies that would be beneficial for 
broader inclusion.
    2. What barriers does your organization face in the recruitment and 
retention of diverse researchers? Where applicable, please provide 
information on:
    a. The setting to which it applies (i.e., academic, industry, 
etc.);
    b. Whether your organization has best practices or challenges 
specific to recruitment and retention of global talent;
    c. Solutions your organization has used to successfully increase 
recruitment or retention of diverse and/or international researchers;
    d. Best practices to promote bold thinking and enable collegiality 
in debate.
    3. Are Federal agency policies on harassment complimentary or 
conflicting with regard to state or organizational policies? Where 
applicable, please provide information on:
    a. What aspects are in conflict, along with the associated agency 
policy;
    b. What aspects are most protective and make policy reasonable to 
implement;
    c. What processes have effectively streamlined the administrative 
workload associated with implementation, compliance, or reporting.

[[Page 65197]]

    4. What metrics can the Federal government use to assess progress 
in promoting safer and more inclusive research environments? Where 
applicable, please provide information on:
    a. What methods your organization uses to assess workplace climate;
    b. What systems within your organization were developed to enforce 
and/or report back to agencies;
    c. What metrics does your organization uses to assess effectiveness 
of safe and inclusive practices;
    d. What actions does your organization take communicate climate 
survey results, both within your organization and to external 
stakeholders?

Sean Bonyun,
Chief of Staff, Office of Science and Technology Policy.
[FR Doc. 2019-25604 Filed 11-25-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P