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The CHIPS and Science Act: Implications on the US Research Landscape and a Look at the Opportunities It Will Open Up for Research Societies and Publishers

On August 9, 2022, President Biden signed the  Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act (CHIPS and Science Act) into law. The Act has two parts. The CHIPS Act authorizes more than $50 billion in federal funds to support the microchip and semiconductor industry in the United States. The Science Act, which is the larger part, authorizes $170 billion in new funds to federal agencies to advance the nation’s innovation and research activities. This article looks at the implications of this act on the US research landscape and further deep dives into the opportunities it will open up for publishers and research societies.

Impact on the US research landscape

Of the two parts, the Science Act will have a greater impact on research in the US. In addition to the general advancement of research, other goals of this act include the following:

  1. Establishing technology hubs
  2.  Increasing participation in STEM fields by underrepresented populations
  3. Geographically diversifying research activities
  4. Bolstering intellectual property security.
  5. Creating new funding opportunities contractors and grant recipients.

Some organizations, in particular, stand to benefit significantly as a result of this act.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will see the largest portion of the potential increase in funding, with an additional authorization of $81 billion over the next five years. The NSF priorities for this funding include STEM education, rural diversification, research security, and various other research initiatives.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will also see its authorized budget increase significantly. This funding will go mostly toward standards research, and the Act encourages other groups, such as universities and non-profits, to participate in the standard-setting process. Other funds were authorized to go to the Department of Energy (DOE) for various energy-related programs.

However, these organizations may not see this money anytime soon. Most of the additional funding was only authorized by the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, not appropriated. It will be up to current and future congressional actions to make the funds available.

Impact on publishers and research societies

For publishers and research societies, the CHIPS and Science Act should increase general interest in research, thereby potentially increasing research study submissions, membership, and website traffic. Most of the increased emphasis on innovations will focus on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, and on green technologies. In addition, institutions receiving federal funds will be required to provide staff and faculty with training on security issues.

If the CHIPS and Science Act is fully funded, or even if it’s partially funded, opportunities for publishers and research societies will be created, including the following:

  • Increased grant-funded research studies – more submissions, greater interest in previous publications, and increased impact factors will lead to greater journal exposure and increase the total amount of publishing fees/contracts generated.
  • Increased need for discipline specific training programs – in addition to the required training on research security, societies might find opportunities to provide more training programs specific to their discipline, as a more geographically and socially diversified population will be drawn to the field.
  • More Special issues – more studies will need to be disseminated on the topics prioritized in the Act.
  • Increased revenue from conferences – opportunities to organize additional conferences on the topics prioritized in the Act, which can increase society income.
  • Increased financial security– selling training programs, special issues, or other discipline-specific content will help decrease dependency on membership dues, thus increasing a society’s financial security.

The CHIPS and Science Act seems to be part of a growing trend to increase interest and participation in scientific research. This may be accompanied by increased access to research results for the general population. Research societies and publishers need to stay alert to these developments and be proactive in taking advantage of opportunities this shift may provide.

Jennifer Ulz

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