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Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Confidential Conflict of Interest Disclosure for Prospective Non-Federal Government Peer Reviewers of Government Science Documents

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.




The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.


Written comments must be submitted on or before February 6, 2007.


Direct all written comments to Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via e-mail at

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Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Tom Gleason, (301) 713-2367 x 158,

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I. Abstract

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued government-wide guidance to enhance the practice of peer review of government science documents. OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review (“Peer Review Bulletin” or PRB) (available at Start Printed Page 71136​omb/​memoranda/​fy2005/​m05-03.pdf) establishes minimum peer review standards for influential scientific information that Federal agencies intend to disseminate. The Peer Review Bulletin also directs Federal agencies to adopt or adapt the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) policy for evaluating conflicts of interest when selecting peer reviewers who are not Federal government employees (federal employees are subject to Federal ethics requirements). For peer review purposes, the term “conflicts of interest” means any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of the individual because it could: (1) Significantly impair the individual's objectivity; or (2) create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization.

NOAA has adapted the NAS policy and developed two confidential conflict disclosure forms which the agency will use to examine prospective reviewers' potential financial conflicts and other interests that could impair objectivity or create an unfair advantage. One form is for peer reviewers of studies related to government regulation and the other form is for all other influential scientific information subject to the Peer Review Bulletin. The forms include questions about employment as well as investment and property interests and research funding. Both forms also require the submission of curriculum vitae.

NOAA is seeking to collect this information from potential peer reviewers who are not government employees when conducting a peer review pursuant to the PRB. The number of peer reviews conducted pursuant to the PRB each year will vary, but for illustrative purposes, NOAA currently has thirty-nine peer review plans posted on the Department of Commerce Peer Review Agenda, indicating that for a six-month period in FY 2006, thirty-nine agency reports had recently been completed, were presently undergoing, or were planning to begin peer review. The information collected in the conflict of interest disclosure is essential to NOAA's compliance with the OMB PRB, and helps to ensure that government studies are reviewed by independent, impartial peer reviewers.

II. Method of Collection

Forms may be downloaded from the Internet and are fillable and signable electronically or manually. They may be submitted, along with the Curriculum Vitae, via e-mail or regular mail.

III. Data

OMB Number: None.

Form Number: None.

Type of Review: Regular submission.

Affected Public: Individuals or households.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 300.

Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 150.

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

IV. Request for Comments

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

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Dated: December 5, 2006.

Gwellnar Banks,

Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

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[FR Doc. E6-20882 Filed 12-7-06; 8:45 am]