Here's a rundown of some of the stories we've been following on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider:
What if someone FOIAs your grant application? Researchers tend to think of their grant proposals as carefully guarded information that will be seen only by peer reviewers in strictest confidence. Little do they realize that anybody can get their hands on a funded federal grant application by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.
A paper that made international headlines earlier this month is causing headaches for its authors. Late last week, several German media outlets reported that the paper, which claimed to demonstrate how sperm could be made from human embryonic stem cells, had been retracted following charges of plagiarism. But the journal that published the paper hadn't made any formal announcement until last night.
Studies of sex workers and drug abusers are an easy target, and a conservative member of Congress took pot shots at three such overseas projects. At the behest of Darrell Issa (R–CA), members okayed an amendment to kill three peer-reviewed grants Issa doesn't like. They support efforts to understand the spread of HIV/AIDS by studying risky behavior among prostitutes in Thailand and China and alcoholics in Russia. Issa called them wasteful; biomedical groups protested. But rather than debate the issue, bill manager Representative David Obey (D–WI) accepted Issa's amendment.
There's yet another new "patient zero" in the swine flu pandemic. A baby from San Luis Potosí in north-central Mexico was likely infected with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus on 24 February, making this the earliest case of swine flu yet detected.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security used a scientifically flawed study to justify its selection of Manhattan, Kansas, as the site for the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, according to a federal report obtained by The Washington Post.
For more on these stories and the latest science policy news and analysis, visit ScienceInsider.