Request for input – are there any rules regarding posting text of one’s own NSF (or other) grant proposals?

In response to a series of posts from Karen James (who is a biologist now in Maine and is director of the HMS Beagle Project) on Twitter, I am posting here to ask for input from the crowd.  On Twitter, Karen has been discussing her putting together an NSF proposal and was then celebrating a few days ago when it was done.

I have posted some of the twitter conversation below.  But to get directly to the point the question I have for everyone here is – are there any rules at the National Science Foundation that would prevent one from sharing with others a grant proposal that one has submitted?  Are there any rules against this at any agency?  I think there are none but apparently some are telling Karen otherwise.

Any information on this would be useful. Some of the twitter conversation is below:

kejames
So, @phylogenomics and others, with whom is it appropriate to share a submitted NSF proposal? Anyone? No one? Something in between?
1/12/12 6:15 PM

phylogenomics
@kejames what do you mean by “appropriate”
1/12/12 6:15 PM

johnhawks
@kejames If I were you, I’d share the whole thing in public and make the reviews public as well. But I’m a minority view.
1/12/12 6:16 PM

kejames
@johnhawks Thanks, I’ve thought of that, actually. It is a federal agency after all. I’d need to redact confidential budget info, though.
1/12/12 6:18 PM

johnhawks
@kejames Yes, and possibly key personnel. My attitude is the success rate is so low, it can’t hurt and might draw visibility pre-review.
1/12/12 6:19 PM

kejames
@phylogenomics Best practice. My instinct is to share it with colleagues, collaborators and associates I think might be interested in it.
1/12/12 6:16 PM

phylogenomics
@kejames what is the potential reason to not share?
1/12/12 6:17 PM

kejames
@phylogenomics That’s what I’m asking. Is there any rule or custom that prohibits sharing it far and wide?
1/12/12 6:19 PM

phylogenomics
@kejames none that I know of – only reason not to is if you are worried about people “stealing” your ideas
1/12/12 6:19 PM

kejames
@phylogenomics Not worried about that in the slightest. If anything sharing it widely establishes it as “my” idea. Thanks.
1/12/12 6:20 PM

kejames
@johnhawks Or I could ask the key personnel if they’re okay w/ it. I think it would be nice to include them if they want to be included.
1/12/12 6:21 PM

phylogenomics
@kejames I think Rosie Redfield posts hers on her blog http://t.co/g73Xb2Yz
1/12/12 6:25 PM

kejames
@phylogenomics Thanks for that. I notice she just posts the project description itself, none of the other “stuff”and doesn’t list names.
1/12/12 6:28 PM

DoctorZen
@kejames NSF proposals are your choice who to share with. Probably not best to post publicly, though.
1/12/12 6:25 PM

kejames
@DoctorZen Why not? As @phylogenomics notes, @RosieRedfield posts her grant proposals on her lab’s website: http://t.co/peWEmnvs
1/12/12 6:29 PM

kejames
Anyone else besides @phylogenomics @doctorzen @johnhawks want to weigh in on how broadly I should share my just-submitted NSF proposal? 1/2
1/12/12 6:31 PM

kejames
@rdmpage @RosieRedfield @DoctorZen @johnhawks @phylogenomics @kzelnio So I asked the collaborators on the proposal. One replied… 1/2
1/13/12 4:50 AM

kejames
@rdmpage @RosieRedfield @DoctorZen @johnhawks @phylogenomics @kzelnio 2/2…”Sharing not wise! Could disqualify proposal.”
1/13/12 4:51 AM

rdmpage
.@kejames @rosieredfield @doctorzen @johnhawks @phylogenomics @kzelnio In other words fear of what grant agency will do trumps being open 😦
1/13/12 5:10 AM

DoctorZen
@rdmpage I support being open; not sure every step always needs to be public. @kejames @rosieredfield @johnhawks @phylogenomics @kzelnio
1/13/12 5:18 AM

rdmpage
.@DoctorZen @kejames @rosieredfield @johnhawks @phylogenomics @kzelnio I agree, it’s not that it HAS to open, but that it COULD be
1/13/12 5:27 AM

phylogenomics
@kejames @rdmpage @RosieRedfield @DoctorZen @johnhawks @kzelnio WTF? As far as I know there are NO NSF issues w/ sharing a proposal
1/13/12 7:00 AM

phylogenomics
@kejames @rdmpage @RosieRedfield @DoctorZen @johnhawks @kzelnio Yes, need to discuss w/ collabs & get permission but not angst any rules
1/13/12 7:02 AM

phylogenomics
@rdmpage @DoctorZen @kejames @rosieredfield @johnhawks @kzelnio agree w/ Rod – issue was whether it could be posted, not if it had to be
1/13/12 7:04 AM

kejames
@phylogenomics I’m following up w/ him to find out what he meant He’s a seasoned NSF grantee and reviewer. Have also contacted NSF directly.
1/13/12 7:08 AM

A call for Open Access supporters to favor grant proposals from researchers promising Open Access publishing

In the world of scientific research, perhaps the most critical step is the acquisition of funding to do research. A key component of grant reviews these days are “Release Policies” for data, tools and research materials. In general, the more “Open” one is with these release policies, the more likely one is to get a grant. This of course makes great sense. If one is going to keep ones data or tools or material private for as long as possible, then one is not advancing science as rapidly as someone else who did the same work but also released everything rapidly.

I believe now is the time for the same thing to be done regarding Open Acces publishing. One can use the same litmus test here. Imagine two grant proposals, to do identical work. And furthermore, asssume the researchers will succeed in their work. And one researcher promised to publish in an Open Access manner while the other promises to publish in a non Open manner. Again, assuming everything else is equal, I think the proposal promising Open Access publishing HAS to be scored higher than the one promising non Open publishing.

Certainly in NSF proposals this could be considered as a component of the Broader Impact criteria and people should write it into their grants. If anyone has any ideas about how this could be specifically incorporated into NIH or DOE or other grants please let me know.

So I call on researchers who support Open Access publishing in any way to start to bring this up on grant panels and in grant reviews. And to score proposals accordingly. That is, if someone has a record of publishing in Open Access journals, they should be moved up a notch compared to others. Just how much is a “notch”. That should be up to individuals. But it is the principle here that is important – publishing in Open Access journals should be a component of grant reviews.