The process by which research is supported is under continuous scrutiny, which is a good thing, because it means that those responsible for policy-making do care. It is also the topic utmost on the minds of scientists. For example, the National Institutes of Health recently conducted a roundtable discussion on many diverse aspects of the funding process (FASEB Newsletter, August/September 1994, page 4). And the congressional General Accounting Office this year released its findings on the peer-review system, concluding that it appears to be working reasonably well (E. Marshall, Science, 265:86, 1994).

Among scientists, Joachim Messing, in his excellent commentary (The Scientist, June 27, 1994, page 13), made the case for supporting many small, rather than a few large, projects. Some excellent suggestions on improvements have also been proposed by Jose M. Musacchio, though he, too, refrains from suggesting major changes in the peer-review system (FASEB Journal, 8:679-83, 1994).


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