By Deb Hamernik and Penny Riggs, ASAS Public Policy Committee
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones or “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAV) have received much publicity in recent years and have even been called by some as “the next big thing for agriculture.” Advocates suggest that as farms get larger in size and have fewer employees, UAS may be useful to scan large pastures for sick or injured cattle, or survey fields for plant health or soil and water conditions. UAS may also be used to ward off birds from crops, pollinate trees, monitor the snow pack, or forecast water supplies. More and better information may allow farmers and ranchers to make better management decisions and enhance the efficiency of food production. In practice, UAS have not yet been proven as cost effective alternatives to existing agricultural practices, but interest in testing the potential application of UAS on the farm remains high across the country. Read more
ASAS is pleased to announce that applications are due October 27, 2014 for the 2015 ASAS Science Policy Summer Internship program.
The program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the ASAS Foundation through the Appreciation Clubs for Bob Zimbelman, Harold Hafs, Jack Britt, Barb Glenn, and Louis Boyd.
Each intern will receive a total of $3,500 for the 60-90 day internship during the academic summer session in 2015. Read more
by Penny Riggs / ASAS Public Policy Committee
The Senate version of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 (S2757) was introduced on July 31. The bill would increase budgets for the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology over the next five years. The bill also promotes participation in STEM fields, as well as research efforts at agencies including NASA and NOAA.
On July 22 the House passed portions of the hotly debated Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act (HR 4186; previously described in Taking Stock), and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 (HR 4159). Read more
By Deb Hamernik, ASAS Public Policy Committee Chair
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Follow that Cell” challenge provides funding to develop new tools and methods that allow time-dependent measurements at the single-cell level in a complex tissue environment to assess functional changes, provide information on the health status of a given cell, and help guide diagnosis and therapeutic treatments related to human disease states. Technological breakthroughs in this arena could allow researchers to identify rare cells in a mixed population, such as individual cells that can transform and become cancerous, cells that are latently infected with a pathogenic virus, or cells that develop resistance to drugs over time. Read more
By Kris Johnson, ASAS Public Policy Committee
In her August 4th blog in ScienceInsider, Jocelyn Kaiser discussed the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) policy on expanding public access to research papers. The Obama Administration directive to make all research papers from publicly funded projects available free means each federal agency must develop a plan. DOE’s plan is a free portal that would contain all published papers that have been available for a year that would go through the journals in which the papers have been published rather than a stand alone DOE portal or a database such as PubMedCentral. Opponents of the plan argue that access will still be limited because the journal access system would prohibit “text mining” and data mining. Kaiser defines text mining as broad searches that can search the entire body of papers. Other opponents argue that the open access after a year infringes on journal copyrights. However, DOE’s plan is similar to that currently conducted by NIH and what is expected to be announced by NSF.
Editor’s Note: JAS articles are already open access at 12 months and are thus already meeting these standards. However, JAS prefers to use a system by which readers are directed back to the JAS site to read the full open-access text, versus deposit of our manuscripts into a “portal”.