Bumps are expected along the path. For example, agencies may resist taking transparency down to the project level, where it could eventually be used to judge the worth of individual projects. Thus, an implementation strategy needs to incorporate a way to communicate and discuss the benefits of proposed solutions to the reporting agencies, to policy makers, and to the public.
The improvements recommended in this report will not be easy to implement. They would constitute a major coordination and information technology initiative. But the development of a cross-agency data federation and analysis framework building on administrative records and advanced retrieval technologies has great promise. As is becoming apparent in work going on in pioneering agencies, such as with the NIH RCDC project, and in the academic community where analysis has gained from advanced retrieval processes, there will be demonstrable gains in the efficiency, transparency, and analytical capacity for collecting and assessing federal investments in research and development.