|Weekly News Digest
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U.S. Government Shutdown Affects Research at Federal Agencies
On Jan. 4, Nature published a multi-authored article, “Scientists Despair as US Government Shutdown Drags On.” It notes that the shutdown’s “effects on science have begun to compound, leaving many government researchers weary, worried and demoralized. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has suspended reviews of grant proposals indefinitely, and is likely to delay panels scheduled to judge applications for postdoctoral fellowships in early January. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has taken widely used weather and climate databases offline. And at NASA, the shutdown threatens to disrupt preparations for upcoming spacecraft launches.”
There are a few science agencies that remain fully operational: “The National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy are unaffected, because Congress has approved funding for them until 30 September, the end of the 2019 budget year.”
In other news, Pew Research Center released a Fact Tank analysis, “The Data Casualties of the Federal Government Shutdown,” by Drew Desilver. It provides “a look at what data are and are not available during the shutdown, from what we’ve been able to find out via agency release schedules and planning documents, third-party calendars, and our own reporting.” The following are two examples:
- The Census Bureau has ceased most operations, other than planning for the 2020 count. That means, among other things, no November data on new home sales (which were supposed to come out Dec. 27), construction spending (Jan. 3), manufacturers’ shipments, inventories and orders (Jan. 7) and international trade (Jan. 8).
- The Agriculture Department’smain statistical offices, the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Economic Research Service, are both closed. That means farmers will not have current data on global supply and demand for farm products, crop and livestock production estimates, and other agricultural economics matters. However, the Agricultural Marketing Service is continuing to provide market-price data for meat, grain, dairy products and other commodities.
For more information, read the Nature article and the Pew Research Center analysis.
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