NSF’s Short Circuit

I read with interest about NSF’s plan for electronic submission of grant proposals (“NSF Short-Circuits Electronic Submissions Project,” The Scientist, March 6, 1989). The NSF should know that commercial products now exist that could solve its problem.

I worked on one such product at AT&T—a product offering interoperability and revisability between word processing systems on IBM PCs running DOS and UNIX systems, including workstations. Graphs, charts, and pictures can be sent as electronic attachments. This product is available now, at a fraction of the amount spent by the NSF on research at Carnegie-Mellon and Michigan.

The AT&T product, and others like it offered by Digital Equipment, Wang, and other vendors, do not contain a multimedia document editor, but this is not required to send graphics and images. Sending nontext items as attachments is, although not, perhaps, ideal, a perfectly satisfactory method that is cheaper, easier, and...

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