Our Study Process
The reports of the National Academies are viewed as being valuable and credible because of the institution’s reputation for providing independent, objective, and non-partisan advice with high standards of scientific and technical quality. Checks and balances are applied at every step in the study process to protect the integrity of the reports and to maintain public confidence in them. The study process can be broken down into four major stages: 1) defining the study; 2) committee selection and approval; 3) committee meetings, information gathering, deliberations, and drafting of the report; and 4) report review. [PDF 109k]
Working with the National Academies: A Guide for Prospective Study Sponsors
This guide is intended for prospective sponsors interested in requesting studies from the National Academies. It describes the process for producing these reports—from funding to report dissemination— and explains the sponsors’ involvement at each stage. This approach ensures that sponsors receive the best product possible. Checks and balances are applied at every step in the study process to protect the integrity of the reports and to maintain public confidence in them. [PDF 95k]
Getting to Know the Committee Process
You have been invited to work on a project at the National Academies and may be wondering exactly what your role is as a committee member. This document is a brief introduction to the institution and is designed to give you a sense of the committee process. No two projects are alike, of course, and people’s experiences vary. But general policies and procedures have been developed to ensure that the time you spend as a volunteer in service to the nation is productive and rewarding. [PDF 7.04MB]
Committee Composition and Balance and Conflicts of Interest for Committees
The purpose of the policy approved by the National Academy of Sciences Council and the National Research Council Governing Board is to provide clear guidance for evaluating potential conflicts of interest of provisional committee members appointed by the National Academies. This allows the institutions to better ensure proper composition and balance of committees that will be used in authoring reports of the Academies. Under the policy, all committees used in authoring reports are divided into categories based on the nature of the task. Each category has a separate form to be filled out by provisional committee members. [more]
Guidelines for the Review of Reports
Any National Academies report (including meeting summaries, signed papers, letter reports, or other study products) must be reviewed by a diverse group of experts other than its authors before it may be released outside the institution. This independent, rigorous review is a hallmark that distinguishes the National Academies from many other organizations offering scientific and technical advice on issues of national importance.
Roles of the Committee Chair
This guide presents a broad overview of the chair's role in the committee process. It has been assembled from interviews with particularly successful chairs who have experienced the broad range of situations that chairs are likely to encounter, and with the advice of skilled study directors who have supported both highly productive and troubled committees. Every committee is unique. Every chair will have a distinctive approach to the work of the committee. But there also are predictable characteristics of the committee process, and anticipating these can prevent unnecessary difficulties. This guide discusses some of the common challenges faced by a chair. We hope that it is useful in completing an important task and making the experience for chairs both successful and enjoyable.