In his response to the petition we recently submitted requesting reforms in the National Science Foundation’s peer review process (“NSF Official Scoffs At Allegations, Asking: ‘What Secret Filing System?’ The Scientist, Sept. 18, 1989, page 13), Jim McCullough [director of NSF’s program evaluation staff] accuses us of various distortions and errors. However, he does not rebut any of the basic arguments we made, nor even the most fundamental point of our petition—that NSF’s peer review system has not satisfactorily safeguarded the legal rights of grant applicants. Indeed, the fact that McCullough neglects to even mention, let alone address, the federal statutes on which our petition is principally based—the Privacy Act and Federal Advisory Committee Act—simply serves to strengthen our contention that the agency has not taken the steps necessary to fully comply with these laws.

The most glaring example of McCullough’s failure to come to grips with the substance of...

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