The most controversial subject in academic science policy recently is the dispute over the effects of the growing practice by which institutions seek and receive from Congress specially earmarked appropriations for research facilities.
To a remarkable degree, decisions about who should be funded to do science have been made on an essentially nonpolitical basis, even though government has been the main patron. There has never been the slightest doubt that Congress has had the power and the right to decide on the disposition of every dollar of federal research appropriations. Nor has there been any doubt that university people have the "right" guaranteed them by the Constitution to petition Congress to meet their needs. The fact that both have chosen, with relatively marginal exceptions, not to do so has enabled American science to avoid both automatic funding formulas and decisions based on political favoritism.
I do not include among the...
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