March 29, 2012: House Science Investigations Subcommittee looks at issue of open access: Five expert witnesses debated the merits of open-access publishing models during a hearing conducted by the House Science Investigations Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on March 29. The hearing was chaired by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) and was convened to debate the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (H.R. 4004), which was introduced last month by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA). A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate (S.2096). This is the third time legislation such as this has been introduced since 2006, and it stands as an open-access alternative to the failed Research Works Act, which was introduced earlier this year and sough to forbid federal agencies from mandating public access to privately published research. See here for more information.
March 23, 2012: New Defense R&D Caucus announced: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), who will be joining SPIE for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick of this year's DSS in Baltimore, has joined with Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) to create a new Defense Research and Development Caucus. According to Rep. Bartlett's office, the Caucus will serve as a forum for Pentagon-funded research conducted by industry, universities and national labs.
March 13, 2012: Countries file trade case over rare earth materials: The United States, the European Union and Japan have filed a trade case over China's export restrictions on rare earth minerals that are crucial for the production of many high-tech devices. The case accuses China of increasing prices outside its borders while lowering them within the country, creating unfair economic advantages. It also accuses China of hoarding the minerals for its own use. China has defended its actions by saying they are in line with World Trade Organization regulations. Despite the legal challenge by the U.S., the U.S. Department of Defense is downplaying the impact of the export limits on its military.
March 9, 2012: President Obama to announce new efforts to support manufacturing: The White House today released plans to create a new national network to support manufacturing and to create a pilot manufacturing institute. The network will include up to fifteen Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation around the country, and the President's Budget proposes a $1 billion investment to create this network. More information can be found here.