Science Studies in Science Policy

December 8th, 2005

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

My latest perspective in Bridges is now online here. It is titled, ” The Role of Science Studies in Science Policy.” It starts out like this:

“In recent decades, science has been increasingly called upon to forge closer connections with the broader society. The days of the basic researcher toiling away in a laboratory with little concern about or accountability to external influences seems to be growing more distant every day. The trend toward a more societally-responsive scientific enterprise has been well documented by scholars who study science in society. Concepts describing this trend such as “Mode 2 science,” “use-inspired basic research,” and “well-ordered science” will be quite familiar to anyone well-acquainted with the discipline of “science and technology studies.” But this trend is not just something that affects natural scientists. It also affects scholars like myself who study science in society. This leads me to ask: What is the relationship between science studies and science policies? And how should that relationship be shaped?”

The rest can be found here. Comments welcomed.

5 Responses to “Science Studies in Science Policy”

  1. Dano Says:

    I think we understand the bridges need to be built. We also need roadmaps for the direction after the bridge.

    There are many issues, but to start: does the scientist making the finding disseminate the info to the public, or does an intermediary disseminate? This sets many of the rules going forward.

    Looking forward, Roger, to your expounding on what to do after the bridge so we can have clarity on the choices.



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  3. David Bruggeman Says:

    I think there’s an additional bridge that needs to be built in order to better address the challenge of knowledge transfer mentioned in the Bridges column.

    From my perspective, there appears to be two distinct academic communities that could influence the practice of science and technology policy:

    Science and technology studies (or whatever synonym you choose) – STS

    Science and technology policy – STP

    A gross oversimplification of their difference – while STS does consider policy in its work, it is usually secondary to studies of practices, contexts, or practitioners. STP scholars are usually focused on policies and their outcomes, outputs and/or implications.

    I make the distinction based on my own educational experience – an M.A. in STP, and Ph.D. coursework in STS. I have seen very few people – scholars or students – cross between these two fields with any degree of ease. Examining universities with programs in both, you usually find little exchange between them.

    We have the challenge of increasing knowledge transfer between STS and those that make, inform, and practice science and technology policy. We also have the challenges of increasing knowledge transfer between STS and STP, and transfer between academic STP and non-academic STP.

    It seems to me that as disciplines, both STS and STP have a harder time with knowledge transfer than their counterparts in other fields.

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  5. Roger Pielke Jr. Says:

    Dave- Thanks for this very insightful comment. I agree 100%. Our local expert on such things is Genevive Maricle and I am hoping that she will weigh in (hint, hint GM;-). It seems to me that STS is experiencing, just like many other disciplines, a “policy turn.” And clearly folks who study STP need STS to contribute useful information. So perhaps there are some strong incentives for such bridges to be built and used. Thanks!

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  7. Mark Says:

    This is just a test to make sure comments work.

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  9. Mark Lohaus Says:

    Another test