How is the shutdown going to affect this year's DEB and IOS awards?

Oct 11 2013 Published by under [Education&Careers]

You may have heard that the government is currently shutdown. I know there hasn't been much talk of it, but it's true. For those in government labs, the effect was rather abrupt. For scientists in academia, the shutdown has been more of a growing cancer that is slowly raging more havoc as it's allowed to fester.

Want to catch up on the literature? Oh, sorry, PubMed isn't updating.

Want to publish a paper with sequence data? Yeaaah, GenBank isn't doing that right now....

Oh, you're an oceanographer who has been planning a specific cruise with five other researchers sharing the boat for how many months? weeelll, NSF had to but the entire national fleet on standby like shutting a laptop.

Slowly and insidiously, more and more is grinding to a halt. And the situation is going to get worse. It's grant reviewing season in DC and funding agencies are scrambling to figure out how the delicate matrix of meetings is going to be put back together again now that the GOP kicked it like an angry toddler. Or, they would be scrambling if they were allowed to do any work.

At some point a deal will be reached and the race will be on. If you were smart enough to download all your review load before the shutdown (like SOME people) maybe you won't be caught entirely with your pants down when you get a day and a half to complete all your reviews. But how much travel is going to have to be rescheduled? How many people are still going to be able to make it to the meeting in person? How far back does this push the entire process? Will reviews get back to PIs in time to make the January preproposal deadline?

I guess it all depends.

Certainly there are no easy answers and this is just one small portion of the shutdown impact, but I have little doubt that this attempted at a fringe minority coup is going to be felt in the scientific sector for quite some time.

6 responses so far

  • Joshua King says:

    Oh my goodness, I hope not much at all.

    By the way... anyone with any idea about how much space people have been giving to addressing previous review comments in DEB and IOS preproposals?

  • musclestumbler says:

    @PLS- I'm not sure how your panel is preparing, but my IOS panel made plans before the shutdown to meet (via webconferencing- ugh) on a series of dates. The only problem is that some of the panelists won't make it, so their reviews will likely have to be proxied by other members of the panel- not an ideal situation, but that's what we're working with. It sounds like the PO's are going to move heaven and earth to get the reviews done by 11/1 (at least in my cluster).

  • proflikesubstance says:

    That's good. I assumed that the PO would have alternate and alt-alternate plans for this, the problem is that we don't know how long it's all going to go. You may also be dealing with fewer and lesser quality ad hocs as a result of the shutdown, but IME, ad hocs don't usually make or break a proposal.

    I declined another panel this round, so I'm simply ad hoc-ing and watching in horror.

  • eeke says:

    I am an ad-hoc reviewer, but have been unable to upload. I assume no one will look at it until everything is re-opened anyway. What a fucking disaster. There ought to be criminal charges pressed against Boner and his thugs.

  • LD says:

    Yeah, I see DEB as having a great deal of trouble getting decisions out in time for the next pre-proposal deadline. Having submitted a full proposal and knowing that the panel meetings are surely going to be delayed drives me nuts. And the DDIG deadline just sailed past, so that is a mess. I know a lot of people are being affected by this shutdown though, so I am trying, although not always succeeding, to keep this in perspective. Thing is, it isn't all about me - the people in my lab are affected too. I although I try to take care of them, this is out of my control - hard thing for a control freak...

  • My forethought stung a little huh? Does it make you feel better to know that my review was due the day the govt shut down, so my being prepared for the shutdown was only because I was woefully unprepared for my deadline?

    Seriously, though, I found it interesting that IOS decided on videoconferencing. It makes sense. Rescheduling conference rooms, flights, etc would probably just delay things further. I wonder if the preprosal deadlines will/can be adjusted, or if they will be working overtime to get the decisions out on time. I feel sorry for the NSF POs and staff. This isn't going to be fun.

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