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US news roundup: 23-29 October


This week: student loan concerns, an integrity consultation and Covid-19 impacts on research

In depth: The United States Department of Education has called for a “significant culture change” at US universities to address “ineffective or nonexistent oversight” of foreign income, as it published a report claiming inadequate reporting of $6.5 billion in foreign gifts and contracts.

Full storyTwelve universities ‘failed to declare $6.5bn in foreign gifts’



Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Democrats concerned about student borrowers

Thirty-four Democrat senators have signed a letter to education secretary Betsy DeVos, calling on her to broaden the scope of student debt relief under the Cares Act, which offers financial support for dealing with Covid-19. In the letter, the senators said that 8.2 million students had been missed by the debt relief programme as some or all of their student loan was ineligible. The department should contact them and help them transfer their debt to make it eligible for relief, the senators said.

Integrity office seeks examples of best practice

The Office of Research Integrity, a federal watchdog, is looking for examples of “best practices, challenges and needs related to teaching the responsible conduct of research”. The Department of Health and Human Services, of which the Office of Research Integrity is part, will use the advice to create training and education materials for researchers funded by the Public Health Service. The consultation is open until 18 December.

Analysis points to Covid-19 impacts on research

An analysis of how Covid-19 has affected the research system in the United States has found that the biggest disruptions have been to researchers and students themselves, while the impact on institutions is largely unknown. Funding is likely to remain stable, the study by Jane Radecki and Roger Schonfeld of the academic digitisation charity Ithaka S+R found. It is unclear how long innovations in academic communication adopted in response to the pandemic will last, or how the business models of research universities might change in the long term, they said.