How can the federal government gauge the overall health of scientific research--as a whole and in its parts--and determine whether national funding adequately supports national research objectives? It is feasible to monitor US performance with field-by-field peer assessments. This might be done through the establishment of independent panels consisting of researchers who work in a field, individuals who work in closely related fields, and research "users" who follow the field closely. Some of these individuals should be outstanding foreign scientists in the field being examined. This technique of comparative international assessments is also known as international benchmarking.
Experiments in International Benchmarking of U.S. Research Fields evaluates the feasibility and utility of the benchmarking technique. In order to do this, the report internationally benchmarks three fields: mathematics, immunology, and materials science and engineering, then summarizes the results of these experiments.