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A more social science: Barriers and incentives for scientists engaging in policy

Singh, Gerald G and Tam, Jordan and Sisk, Thomas D and Klain, Sarah C and Mach, Megan E and Martone, Rebecca G and Chan, Kai MA (2014) A more social science: Barriers and incentives for scientists engaging in policy. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12 (3). pp. 161-166. ISSN 1540-9309


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/130011


Scientists are increasingly called upon to engage in policy formulation, but the literature on engagement is strong on speculation and weak on evidence. Using a survey administered at several broadly “ecological” conferences, we investigated: (1) the extent to which respondents engage in policy-related activities (including reporting scientific results, interpreting science for policy makers, integrating science into decision making, taking a position on a policy issue, and acting as a decision maker); (2) what factors best explain these types of engagement; and (3) whether respondents' activity levels match their stated beliefs on such activities. Different factors explain different forms of participation. Past negative experience was identified as a barrier to taking part in policy, while self-perceived competence in navigating the science–policy interface was consistently important in explaining activity across all engagement types, highlighting the importance of training programs linking scientists to policy. Many respondents believed that scientists should interpret, integrate, and advocate, which contrasts with previous research and relatively low levels of self-reported participation in policy.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2014. Copyright by the Ecological Society of America.
ID number or DOI: 10.1890/130011
Keywords: policy formation; researcher views; policy makers;
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 23:16
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/671

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