Credibility and use of scientific and technical information in policy making: An analysis of the information bases of the National Research Council's committee reports

Jan Youtie, Barry Bozeman, Sahra Jabbehdari, Andrew Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Often researchers are disappointed by the limited extent to which peer reviewed STEM research seems to contribute directly to high level public policy decision-making. However, does the perception of the limited use of formal scientific and technical information (STI) accord with empirical reality? How does the choice of various types of information relate to the use and impacts of science policy reports and recommendations? While there is a prodigious literature on the use of formal information in decision-making, our focus is on the use of STI in science, technology and innovation (S&T) policy, a domain in which there is virtually no empirical literature. This study examines the use and impacts of STI in the context of a single, but arguably quite important, S&T policy domain: the US National Research Council (NRC) reports. This is an especially important target institution for analysis because NRC committees have extensive information access and resources, as well as decision-makers who are well equipped to deal with a variety of information types, including STI. To understand the information ingredients of high-level S&T policymaking and advice, we have coded information about the report, policy area, committee and reviewers, STI, and use of the report by Congress. Results indicate that STI is widely used in the NRC report-writing process, but, although nearly half of all NRC reports are explicitly conveyed to Congress, STI use does not figure significantly in this conveyance. These findings imply different internal and external credibility orientations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-120
Number of pages13
JournalResearch Policy
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

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Decision making
Information use
Innovation
Policy making
Credibility

Keywords

  • Credibility
  • National academies
  • National Research Council
  • Scientific and technical information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Credibility and use of scientific and technical information in policy making : An analysis of the information bases of the National Research Council's committee reports. / Youtie, Jan; Bozeman, Barry; Jabbehdari, Sahra; Kao, Andrew.

In: Research Policy, Vol. 46, No. 1, 01.02.2017, p. 108-120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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