Peer review and the pork barrel



Unless and until Congress establishes a large-scale program to improve academic research facilities, researchers (or groups that represent them) should try to convince Congress that some sort of merit review should be applied to the “pork barrel” system of research facilities funding now in operation, according to a working committee set up last fall by the Association of American Universities (AAU) and five other higher education groups. In recent years, an increasing number of colleges and universities have sought and received direct congressional appropriations earmarked for their research facilities without conventional merit review, against the objections of groups like AAU.