1 year of support for graduate students, typically the final year, the graduate fellowship programs offered by NIJ are compromised in their capacity to attract new scholars to criminal justice studies. Specifically, the NIJ fellowship programs do not compare well against other graduate fellowship programs, such as the multiyear programs offered by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and the training grant programs offered by NIH.
NIJ has not lived up to its potential in contributing to the development of a resource database for use by the criminal justice research community. Although a significant fraction of the data in the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data originates from NIJ grant activities, too many grantees continue to ignore requirements for submitting data generated by their grants to the data archive. Contributing to the problem, NIJ has not mounted a successful strategy to obtain compliance from research grantees or to provide the necessary support to produce quality data sets for NACJD. For example, NIJ could require applicants to designate funds in their budgets for this purpose.
Our review suggests that the data archive program is effective, well run, and making significant contributions to research. To maximize the contributions of NIJ’s data archiving program, we encourage NIJ to adopt practices as outlined to NIJ in a 2003 memorandum from ICPSR/NACJD. These efforts include (1) being more diligent in making sure that all grantees with data submit it to the archive in user-friendly formats, refusing to continue or make new awards to any university or research organization whose projects have failed to submit data is a reasonable step to enforce the data submission requirement; (2) requiring grantees who generate data to include in their proposals funding to cover the costs of preparing data for archiving; and (3) expanding the summer program to cover more topics and to include researchers who are in criminal justice policy and operational agencies. These steps, combined with careful monitoring by NIJ of compliance with its own requirements and efforts already under way at ICPSR, will greatly improve this important aspect of NIJ.