For over 14 years, the National Science Foundation has systematically deprived its grant applicants of certain basic legal rights that Congress intended them to have and which other granting agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health have made more of an effort to protect. Because of NSF’s circumvention of these rights, many scientists may have been denied grants for improper reasons—due to conflicts of interest, or because of blatantly erroneous information—without even realizing it.

To rectify this situation, we recently submitted an extensive petition to NSF, asking it to make some modest but essential changes in its peer review system—changes that would undermine none of the fundamental principles on which a peer review system is based, but which would make it much fairer and more accountable to grant applicants. It is in the interest of every person who has ever submitted a grant application to NSF. or who may...

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