The article, "Firms Can't Get Federal Research, Report Says" (July 22), described government's failure to share its studies on technology and alleged that the situation makes it difficult for businesses to compete. The article is based on a Library of Congress report that is believed to be incomplete.
The Technology Utilization-Dissemination group of the Office of Patents and Technology Utilization of Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the dissemination of technical information related to the science and technology developed at JPL in the course of work under its contract with NASA.
During 1990 alone, more than 63,000 reports on technological inventions and innovations were sent in response to requests from industry, government agencies and educational institutions. These reports relate to nearly every imaginable technology and scientific discipline and are available upon request.
Shorter items about technology are published (at no cost to the government) in a monthly magazine, "NASA Tech Briefs," which is available free to qualified subscribers in the United States. There are currently more than 190,000 such subscribers. NASA Tech Briefs have been available in one form or another since 1963.
NTB publishes many Tech Brief items on technology from JPL and the other eight NASA Centers each month. In December, NASA and NTB will hold the second annual technology conference and exposition in San Jose. More than 100 scientists and technologists will present papers describing technology available for transfer. Last year's conference in Washington drew 15,000.
In addition to the NASA centers, other sources that help business and industry obtain information about technology for transfer to the private sector are NASA Industrial Application Centers. There are also members of the Federal Laboratories Consortium, which is actively engaged in making technology developed in government laboratories available.
Every agency of the U.S. government involved in technology R&D; has an interest in transferring it to the private sector as soon as possible, within the bounds of certain security limitations. A note to the industry: It's out there. Come and get it!
NORMAN L. CHALFIN
The writer is manager of the technology utilization staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.