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Experiments in International Benchmarking of US Research Fields
particular, the panel members should avoid statements that might be construed as recommendations to increase the funding for their field.
Each panel, in developing its report, should seek a consensus based mainly on the informed judgments of panel members.
Panel members should focus on the accomplishments of researchers in the field, not on funding levels, as indicators of leadership and they should consider the development of human resources as a component of leadership; for example, if all the interesting research in a country is being done by senior researchers, that country might lack sufficient young researchers to develop accomplishments in the future.
2.2Specific Charge to the Panels
In particular, COSEPUP charged each panel to answer three questions:
What is the position of US research in the field relative to that in other regions or countries? Is it at the forefront? The leader? Behind the leaders? Where is the most exciting research occurring internationally? Given that the United States should be at the forefront of research, where does US research stand relative to the forefront?
On the basis of current trends in the United States and world-wide, what will be our relative position in the near and longer-term future ? Given current trends, will US research in the field remain at the forefront? Take the lead? Fall behind the leaders?
What are the key factors influencing relative US performance in the field? Why is the critical research occurring either in or outside the United States? Is the equipment, infrastructure, or supply of young people superior or inferior?
Each panel adapted this charge to the characteristics of its particular field. Complete descriptions of methodology can be found in the reports of the three panels, which are in the attachments.
2.3Selection of Panel Members
To achieve balance and diversity, COSEPUP asked the oversight committees to include panel members from the following general groups: US experts in the research field being assessed, experts in related fields of research, non-US experts in the field and related fields, and "users" of research results.
The concept of "users" is meant to embrace those who can judge both the quality of research and its relevance to further research, to industrial applications, and to other societal objectives, including the advancement of knowledge. These users might be found in academe, government, industry, or other sectors. Users of mathematical research, for example, might include an academic chemist, an industrial engineer,