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Competes Act Passes Senate, House

Our bill on citizen science (that started with my briefing the awesome AAAS fellow Rose Mutiso in Sen Coons’ office in early 2014) was incorporated into the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (COMPETES) (see Sec 402), and is now on its way for signing by the President.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/update-surprise-innovation-bill-clears-house-heads-president

Full Text (see also section 402 pasted below)

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/3084?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22%5C%22citizen+science%5C%22%22%5D%7D&r=4

Thanks  to citizen science champions Sen Coons, Rose Mutiso, Allison Schwier and Franz, to Darlene Cavalier and the American Chemical Society for helping to organize subsequent congressional briefings, to Jenn Gustetic who helped from her position at OSTP, and to Sophia Liu, Amy Kaminski, John McLaughlin, Ellen McCallie, Jennifer Couch, Jay Benforado and other CCS federal staff and CSA members who offered their technical expertise to inform congressional staff’s efforts (through *multiple* rounds of review and comments).

Congrats all!

SEC. 402. CROWDSOURCING AND CITIZEN SCIENCE.

(a) Short Title.—This section may be cited as the “Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act”.

(b) Sense Of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the authority granted to Federal agencies under the America COMPETESReauthorization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–358; 124 Stat. 3982) to pursue the use of incentive prizes and challenges has yielded numerous benefits;

(2) crowdsourcing and citizen science projects have a number of additional unique benefits, including accelerating scientific research, increasing cost effectiveness to maximize the return on taxpayer dollars, addressing societal needs, providing hands-on learning in STEM, and connecting members of the public directly to Federal science agency missions and to each other; and

(3) granting Federal science agencies the direct, explicit authority to use crowdsourcing and citizen science will encourage its appropriate use to advance Federal science agency missions and stimulate and facilitate broader public participation in the innovation process, yielding numerous benefits to the Federal Government and citizens who participate in such projects.

(c) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) CITIZEN SCIENCE.—The term “citizen science” means a form of open collaboration in which individuals or organizations participate voluntarily in the scientific process in various ways, including—

(A) enabling the formulation of research questions;

(B) creating and refining project design;

(C) conducting scientific experiments;

(D) collecting and analyzing data;

(E) interpreting the results of data;

(F) developing technologies and applications;

(G) making discoveries; and

(H) solving problems.

(2) CROWDSOURCING.—The term “crowdsourcing” means a method to obtain needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting voluntary contributions from a group of individuals or organizations, especially from an online community.

(3) PARTICIPANT.—The term “participant” means any individual or other entity that has volunteered in a crowdsourcing or citizen science project under this section.

(d) Crowdsourcing And Citizen Science.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The head of each Federal science agency, or the heads of multiple Federal science agencies working cooperatively, may utilize crowdsourcing and citizen science to conduct projects designed to advance the mission of the respective Federal science agency or the joint mission of Federal science agencies, as applicable.

(2) VOLUNTARY SERVICES.—Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the head of a Federal science agency may accept, subject to regulations issued by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, services from participants under this section if such services—

(A) are performed voluntarily as a part of a crowdsourcing or citizen science project authorized under paragraph (1);

(B) are not financially compensated for their time; and

(C) will not be used to displace any employee of the Federal Government.

(3) OUTREACH.—The head of each Federal science agency engaged in a crowdsourcing or citizen science project under this section shall make public and promote such project to encourage broad participation.

(4) CONSENT, REGISTRATION, AND TERMS OF USE.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Each Federal science agency shall determine the appropriate level of consent, registration, or acknowledgment of the terms of use that are required from participants in crowdsourcing or citizen science projects under this section on a per-project basis.

(B) DISCLOSURES.—In seeking consent, conducting registration, or developing terms of use for a project under this subsection, a Federal science agency shall disclose the privacy, intellectual property, data ownership, compensation, service, program, and other terms of use to the participant in a clear and reasonable manner.

(C) MODE OF CONSENT.—A Federal agency or Federal science agencies, as applicable, may obtain consent electronically or in written form from participants under this section.

(5) PROTECTIONS FOR HUMAN SUBJECTS.—Any crowdsourcing or citizen science project under this section that involves research involving human subjects shall be subject to part 46 of title 28, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).

(6) DATA.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A Federal science agency shall, where appropriate and to the extent practicable, make data collected through a crowdsourcing or citizen science project under this section available to the public, in a machine readable format, unless prohibited by law.

(B) NOTICE.—As part of the consent process, the Federal science agency shall notify all participants—

(i) of the expected uses of the data compiled through the project;

(ii) if the Federal science agency will retain ownership of such data;

(iii) if and how the data and results from the project would be made available for public or third party use; and

(iv) if participants are authorized to publish such data.

(7) TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS.—Federal science agencies shall endeavor to make technologies, applications, code, and derivations of such intellectual property developed through a crowdsourcing or citizen science project under this section available to the public.

(8) LIABILITY.—Each participant in a crowdsourcing or citizen science project under this section shall agree—

(A) to assume any and all risks associated with such participation; and

(B) to waive all claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except for claims based on willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits (whether direct, indirect, or consequential) arising from participation in the project.

(9) RESEARCH MISCONDUCT.—Federal science agencies coordinating crowdsourcing or citizen science projects under this section shall make all practicable efforts to ensure that participants adhere to all relevant Federal research misconduct policies and other applicable ethics policies.

(10) MULTI-SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS.—The head of each Federal science agency engaged in crowdsourcing or citizen scienceunder this section, or the heads of multiple Federal science agencies working cooperatively, may enter into a contract or other agreement to share administrative duties for such projects with—

(A) a for profit or nonprofit private sector entity, including a private institution of higher education;

(B) a State, tribal, local, or foreign government agency, including a public institution of higher education; or

(C) a public-private partnership.

(11) FUNDING.—In carrying out crowdsourcing and citizen science projects under this section, the head of a Federal science agency, or the heads of multiple Federal science agencies working cooperatively—

(A) may use funds appropriated by Congress;

(B) may publicize projects and solicit and accept funds or in-kind support for such projects, to be available to the extent provided by appropriations Acts, from—

(i) other Federal agencies;

(ii) for profit or nonprofit private sector entities, including private institutions of higher education; or

(iii) State, tribal, local, or foreign government agencies, including public institutions of higher education; and

(C) may not give any special consideration to any entity described in subparagraph (B) in return for such funds or in-kind support.

(12) FACILITATION.—

(A) GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANCE.—The Administrator of the General Services Administration, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, shall, at no cost to Federal science agencies, identify and develop relevant products, training, and services to facilitate the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science projects under this section, including by specifying the appropriate contract vehicles and technology and organizational platforms to enhance the ability of Federal science agencies to carry out the projects under this section.

(B) ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE.—The head of each Federal science agency engaged in crowdsourcing or citizen science under this section may—

(i) consult any guidance provided by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, including the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit;

(ii) designate a coordinator for that Federal science agency’s crowdsourcing and citizen science projects; and

(iii) share best practices with other Federal agencies, including participation of staff in the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science.

(e) Report.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall include, as a component of an annual report required under section 24(p) of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3719(p)), a report on the projects and activities carried out under this section.

(2) INFORMATION INCLUDED.—The report required under paragraph (1) shall include—

(A) a summary of each crowdsourcing and citizen science project conducted by a Federal science agency during the most recently completed 2 fiscal years, including a description of the proposed goals of each crowdsourcing and citizen science project;

(B) an analysis of why the utilization of a crowdsourcing or citizen science project summarized in subparagraph (A) was the preferable method of achieving the goals described in subparagraph (A) as opposed to other authorities available to the Federal science agency, such as contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and prize competitions;

(C) the participation rates, submission levels, number of consents, and any other statistic that might be considered relevant in each crowdsourcing and citizen science project;

(D) a detailed description of—

(i) the resources, including personnel and funding, that were used in the execution of each crowdsourcing and citizen science project;

(ii) the project activities for which such resources were used; and

(iii) how the obligations and expenditures relating to the project’s execution were allocated among the accounts of the Federal science agency, including a description of the amount and source of all funds, private, public, and in-kind, contributed to each crowdsourcing and citizen science project;

(E) a summary of the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science by all Federal science agencies, including interagency and multi-sector partnerships;

(F) a description of how each crowdsourcing and citizen science project advanced the mission of each participating Federal science agency;

(G) an identification of each crowdsourcing or citizen science project where data collected through such project was not made available to the public, including the reasons for such action; and

(H) any other information that the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy considers relevant.

(f) Savings Provision.—Nothing in this section may be construed—

(1) to affect the authority to conduct crowdsourcing and citizen science authorized by any other provision of law; or

(2) to displace Federal Government resources allocated to the Federal science agencies that use crowdsourcing or citizen scienceauthorized under this section to carry out a project.

Big Announcements in Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science at White House Event

WHITE HOUSE OSTP DIRECTOR JOHN HOLDREN MEMO:

Memo: Addressing Societal and Scientific Challenges Through Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/holdren_citizen_science_memo_092915_0.pdf

Blog post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/09/30/accelerating-use-citizen-science-and-crowdsourcing-address-societal-and-scientific

 

FEDERAL CROWDSOURCING AND CITIZEN SCIENCE TOOLKIT

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in partnership with the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science

Blog post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/02/designing-citizen-science-and-crowdsourcing-toolkit-federal-government

 

NSF CORE PRIORITY IN CITIZEN SCIENCE AND CROWDSOURCING Announced

The NSF Director Dr. France Cordova announces that citizen science and crowdsourcing—“a visionary concept”– will be a core priority for NSF in the coming fiscal year. Her presentation begins about 32 min into the Citizen Science Forum video, and the announcement is at 40:49. The written announcement will come from OMB later this year. https://youtu.be/J17uBahTdDE?t=2449

NSF Press Release: Be a (citizen) scientist! (of note, NSF has made $5,613,201 in grants and related awards that support research in this area): http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=136445&org=NSF

CITIZEN SCIENCE DAY Announced

The Citizen Science Association and partners, including the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, announced plans to organize a Citizen Science Day on April 16, 2015, which will kick off a series of events nationwide.

http://citizenscienceassociation.org/2015/09/30/citizen-science-day-announced-at-white-house/

 

CITIZEN SCIENCE FORUM:

White House Citizen Science Forum, in partnership with the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science

YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=4&v=J17uBahTdDE

Holdren Opening Remarks (waiting for them to be posted): https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/library/docsreports

Blog Post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/09/09/open-science-and-innovation-people-people-people

CROWDSOURCING AND CITIZEN SCIENCE ACT OF 2015 – FEDERAL LEGISLATION:

The Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 provides clarification to government agencies, removing ambiguity about whether an agency can use crowdsourcing techniques. Senator Coons (D-DE) and Senator Daines (R-MT) co-sponsored the bill.

Text of the Bill: http://coons.senate.gov/download/?id=063AEFE6-CB5C-42FD-8FD6-57F58BD1AC5B

Press release: http://www.coons.senate.gov/newsroom/releases/release/senator-coons-introduces-bill-to-promote-open-science-and-innovation-in-government

The Government Wants You to Help It Do Science Experiments, Senator Chris Coons, Wired Magazine

http://www.wired.com/2015/09/government-wants-help-science-experiments/

First in MT…Coons to Unveil Federal Crowdsourcing Bill

http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-tech/2015/09/tech-advocates-aim-high-for-next-librarian-of-congress-whitfield-resignation-narrows-candidates-for-e-c-chairmanship-coons-to-unveil-federal-crowdsourcing-bill-210469

Senator Coons Introduces Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 by Gene Quinn, IPWatchdog

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2015/09/30/senator-coons-introduces-crowdsourcing-and-citizen-science-act-of-2015/id=62158/

  Read More…

US Senate introduces Geospatial Data Reform Act 2015

S.740
Latest Title: Geospatial Data Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] (introduced 3/16/2015)      Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 3/16/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
    SEC. 3. FEDERAL GEOGRAPHIC DATA COMMITTEE.
    SEC. 4. NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
    SEC. 5. NATIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE.
    SEC. 6. NGDA DATA THEMES.
    SEC. 7. GEOSPATIAL DATA STANDARDS.
    SEC. 8. GEOPLATFORM.
    SEC. 9. COVERED AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES.
    SEC. 10. LIMITATION ON USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s740is/pdf/BILLS-114s740is.pdf

Also see the congressional record (search for word “geospatial”):
https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/03/19/senate-section/article/S1638-3

US GAO Reports on Geospatial Data

Geospatial Investments

“Better coordination among federal agencies that collect, maintain, and use geospatial information could help reduce duplication of geospatial investments and provide the opportunity for potential savings of millions of dollars.”

For full analysis, please visit GAO here.

Geospatial Data:Progress Needed on Identifying Expenditures, Building and Utilizing a Data Infrastructure, and Reducing Duplicative Efforts [Reissued March 18, 2015]

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-193

GAO-15-193: Published: Feb 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2015.

Geospatial Information: OMB and Agencies Can Reduce Duplication by Making Coordination a Priority

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-226T

GAO-14-226T: Published: Dec 5, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 5, 2013.

Geospatial Information: OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication

http://gao.gov/products/GAO-13-94
GAO-13-94: Published: Nov 26, 2012. Publicly Released: Nov 26, 2012.

Information Technology: OMB Needs to Improve Its Guidance on IT Investments
http://gao.gov/products/GAO-11-826
GAO-11-826: Published: Sep 29, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 2011.

Geospatial Information: Better Coordination Needed to Identify and Reduce Duplicative Investments
http://gao.gov/products/GAO-04-703
GAO-04-703: Published: Jun 23, 2004. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2004.

Senate Holds Hearing on Drones

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. to examine the growth of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones”, in the United States, including the potential economic benefits of drone operations, and the progress of steps taken to facilitate the development of the industry through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95). The hearing included consideration of safety and privacy issues surrounding the operation of drones in the United States.

Watch the video of the hearing here.

Majority Statement

Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV
Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Panel Testimony

NEW US Gov Accountability Report on Geospatial Information

Geospatial Information: Office of Management and Budget and Agencies Can Reduce Duplication By Making Coordination a Priority

GAO-14-226T, Dec 5, 2013

The President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, however, in November 2012, GAO reported that governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies had not effectively implemented them. The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide–the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)–had developed and endorsed key standards and had established a clearinghouse of metadata. GAO found that the clearinghouse was not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication. In addition, the committee had not yet fully planned for or implemented an approach to manage geospatial data as related groups of investments to allow agencies to more effectively plan geospatial data collection efforts and minimize duplicative investments, and its strategic plan was missing key elements.

Other shortfalls have impaired progress in coordinating geospatial data. Specifically, none of the three federal departments in GAO’s review had fully implemented important activities such as preparing and implementing a strategy for advancing geospatial activities within their respective departments. Moreover, the agencies in GAO’s review responsible for governmentwide management of specific geospatial data had implemented some but not all key activities for coordinating the national coverage of specific geospatial data.

While OMB has oversight responsibilities for geospatial data, GAO reported in November 2012 that according to OMB staff, the agency did not have complete and reliable information to identify potentially duplicative geospatial investments. GAO also reported that FGDC, federal departments and agencies, and OMB had not yet fully implemented policies and procedures for coordinating geospatial investments because these efforts had not been a priority. As a result, efforts to acquire data were uncoordinated and the federal government acquired duplicative geospatial data. For example, a National Geospatial Advisory Committee representative stated that a commercial provider leases the same proprietary parcel data to six federal agencies. GAO concluded that unless the key entities determined that coordinating geospatial investments was a priority, the federal government would continue to acquire duplicative geospatial information and waste taxpayer dollars.

Why GAO Did This Study

The federal government collects, maintains, and uses geospatial information–information linked to specific geographic locations–to support many functions, including national security and disaster response. In 2012, the Department of the Interior estimated that the federal government was investing billions of dollars on geospatial data annually, and that duplication was common.

In November 2012, GAO reported on efforts to reduce duplicative investments in geospatial data, focusing on OMB, FGDC, and three agencies: the Departments of Commerce, the Interior, and Transportation.

This statement summarizes the results of that November 2012 report on progress and challenges in coordinating geospatial information and includes updates on the implementation of recommendations made in that report.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making no new recommendations in this statement. In November 2012, GAO recommended that to improve coordination and reduce duplication, FGDC develop a national strategy for coordinating geospatial investments; federal agencies follow federal guidance for managing geospatial investments; and OMB develop a mechanism to identify and report on geospatial investments. Since that time, FGDC and several agencies have taken some steps to implement the recommendations. However, additional actions are still needed.

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet: New Strategy for Earth Observations | The White House

by Peter Colohan (he’s awesome!), Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, April 19, 2013

Ever wonder where the Weather Channel gets its data? Where the satellite images for Google Earth come from? These data and much more come from a complex array of satellites, ocean buoys, stream gauges, human surveys, and other platforms for collecting what the scientific community calls Earth observations. These data are used every day to protect life and property and answer key questions about our planet.Today, the Obama Administration’s National Science and Technology Council released a National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations—a framework for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nation’s Earth-observation enterprise. Currently, 11 Federal departments and agencies engage in Earth observation activities, collecting volumes of important data about the Earth on an ongoing basis, using an array of sophisticated tools and systems. The new Strategy outlines a process for evaluating and prioritizing Earth-observation investments according to their value to society in critical areas such as agriculture, global change, disasters, water resources, and weather.Each year, the U.S. Government invests significant resources in Earth-observations systems to collect data about Earth’s land, oceans, ecosystems, and atmosphere. Together, these systems take the pulse of our planet, providing critical Earth-system data that scientists and analysts can then turn into usable information about climate and weather, disaster events, land-use changes, ecosystem health, natural resources, and more. Ultimately, information and services derived from Earth-observation data—including some as ubiquitous as weather forecasts and GPS-navigation—are used by policy makers, resource managers, business leaders, first-responders, and citizens to make important day-to-day decisions.But as the Nation’s Earth-observation capacity has grown, so has the complexity of the Earth-observation endeavor. The demand for data, the complexity of the tools required to collect those data, and the sheer amount of data being collected, all are increasing. The National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations aims to help Federal agencies face these challenges by better-organizing existing Earth-observation systems and information, and coordinating plans for future projects. In support of the Obama Administration’s Open Data Initiatives, this Strategy also provides specific guidance on how agencies can make these Earth observations more open and accessible to the public.Going forward, the Strategy will be used as a basis to inform a broad National Plan for Civil Earth Observations—a blueprint for future investments in US Earth-observing systems, including agency roles and responsibilities, and creative solutions to challenges related to maintaining the Nation’s Earth-observing systems. It will also reinforce the United States’ ongoing commitment to work with international partners through the multi-national Group on Earth Observations GEO.The Strategy released today provides an evidence-based framework for routine assessment and planning across the entire family of Federal agencies engaged in Earth observations. It will help agencies compare notes, prioritize activities, and improve the quality of data about the planet—with the ultimate goal of meeting society’s most pressing data and information needs. Read the Strategy here.Learn more about global Earth-observation efforts here.Peter Colohan is a Senior Policy Analyst at OSTP

via Taking the Pulse of Our Planet: New Strategy for Earth Observations | The White House.

 

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