Nanoscientists and political involvement: Which characteristics make scientists more likely to support engagement in political debates?

Youngjae Kim, Elizabeth Corley, Dietram A. Scheufele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The scientific community is increasingly called upon to provide scientific advice to policy-makers (de Kerckhove, D. T., Rennie, M. D., and Cormier, R., 2015, EMBO Reports, 6, 263-6). However, scientists' perceptions about political involvement vary based on their individual beliefs, values, and backgrounds. The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptual factors that are associated with US nanoscientists' perceptions about political involvement. To examine this, we analyze data from a 2011 mail survey of leading US nanoscientists. Our results indicate that the scientists are generally supportive of involvement in political debates. Yet, we find some differences across scientists with respect to their perceptions about political involvement. For example, Caucasian respondents are more supportive of scientists' political involvement than their peers. Also, scientists with higher risk perceptions of nanotechnology are more likely to support political involvement. In addition, scientists who pay more attention to the wishes of the public are more likely to support scientists' involvement in political debates. Lastly, scientists' degree of religious faith is inversely associated with the likelihood of agreeing with their political involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-327
Number of pages11
JournalScience and Public Policy
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Keywords

  • Nanotechnology
  • Political involvement
  • Roles of scientists
  • Scientist perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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