US science policy should focus on outcomes not efficiencies

Feb 17, 2013

Given the huge investment and power of science and technology in the U.S. it is surprising that more attention isn't paid to the policy decisions that drive the enterprise, said Daniel Sarewitz, co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University. What appears to be missing from the equation, he added, is a focus on outcomes.

Sarewitz was speaking at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston.

"Given the power of science and technology to shape and even transform our society, it is extraordinary how little attention is paid to improving our science and technology ," said Sarewitz. "There are different ways to think about enhancing the capacity of the science and technology enterprise to solve the problems people expect it to solve."

Sarewitz, a Fellow of AAAS and member of its Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, spoke as part of a panel on Outcome-Oriented Research and Development Strategy, today (Feb. 17). His talk is titled: "Toward Bridging the Duality of Science: Seed-Push, Issue-Driven or 'Encounter'?'"

Sarewitz, who has more than 20 years experience in science policy dating back to his time working on Capitol Hill as a staff member for former congressman George E. Brown, Jr., has written numerous articles and books on this subject. Included among these are his articles on public value mapping with CSPO co-founder Barry Bozeman and his article "Does Matter?" for Issues in Science and Technology.

"The standard ways we have of assessing science and technology efforts are not aimed at understanding the outcomes of science in society, but are aimed at maximizing the productivity," said Sarewitz. "Despite the fact that the advancement of science and the development of technology are unpredictable, we can assess whether programs are appropriately structured for delivering the societal outcomes that we expect them to accomplish. By understanding these distinctions, we can make better decisions."

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ScooterG
2.4 / 5 (14) Feb 17, 2013
"we can assess whether programs are appropriately structured for delivering the societal outcomes that we expect them to accomplish. By understanding these distinctions, we can make better decisions.""

In other words, begin with the ending in mind. Some would call that a bias.

AGW research is a prime example of beginning with the ending in mind. Mix that bias with the lure of grant money and the support of throngs of gullible emos and you've got a real gold mine.

ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (10) Feb 17, 2013
The outcome of putting a man on the moon and bringing him home was a well defined outcome and led to a govt run manned space program that nearly collapsed in the mid 70s and limped along with a weak 'outcome' until today.
The unstated outcome was to put US men on the moon before the Soviets.
Outcomes can be very motivating if precisely defined and executed without scope creep.
The only outcome of a science experiment should be to obtain the best quality, unbiased data most efficiently.
sennekuyl
5 / 5 (4) Feb 17, 2013
:scratch: When people look who is earning money in studying climatology, it isn't the people applying for AGW study grants. Why does this not sink in?

http://arstechnic...e-money/

If climate scientists are in it for the money, they're doing it wrong
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 17, 2013
When people look who is earning money in studying climatology, it isn't the people applying for AGW study grants.

Power is more important than money to AGWites.

But the high priests, like Al Gore, are doing quite well financially.

Michael Mann heads is own research institute (power, in his world).
VendicarE
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 18, 2013
God blesses Al Gore.

I do too, as so all moral people.

Meanwhile God gave Ayn Rand lung cancer to punish her for being pure evil.
sennekuyl
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2013
1) Why all the accusations against climatologists that they're on a gravy train of grants (specifically tied to money not power.)
2) Where & how do you get that?
3) Doesn't invalidate the data that supporting AGW is among the worst way of achieving the goals of money (or power in the game of science.)
4) Successfully acquiring money or power (or typically both) doesn't invalidate the conclusions from the data, nor challenge the data.

Never laid eyes on anything from either of the two people mentioned; not sure why they're supposed to be significant? Well, I might've been directed to a graph or two by Mann but he has been superseded for so long it is puzzling the use of his name as though it invalidates AGW.

Gore isn't a scientist and any money he has isn't due to grants. If he is a phoney (as intimated) then he is no different to the various religious preachers that abound. Whether or not his spiel is valid is independent of his ability to generate money.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
ScooTard is upset at how the world is rapidly evolving away from his ideological vision.

This is what happens when your ideology is not based in Reality.

Conservative Republican David Koresh of WACO knew this, and it is why he killed himself and his own children after sexually molesting those underage girls.

"AGW research is a prime example of beginning with the ending in mind." - ScooTard

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/TtuLKkfVV4I/0.jpg

He even looks like a Republican Low Life, doesn't he?
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2013
Power is more important than money to AGWites.


No, riggsuckin', conducting rigorous science and developing methods to avert calamity are what are important.

Money, acquired by whatever means, is what is important to riggsuckin'

But the high priests, like Al Gore, are doing quite well financially.


Is that so, riggsuckin'? Please, produce your list of these so-called "high priests", along with the financial data to back up this claim of their affluence.

Michael Mann heads is own research institute (power, in his world).


And the Koch Brothers hold sway over numerous policymakers, organizations and associations, in opposition. It goes without saying that organizations require leadership.

One thing that you may be certain of, riggsuckin', is that there is exactly zero danger of you being the head of any organization.
You wouldn't be able to muster the grit required to run a lemonade stand.

Now shut your suckhole, filth.

ryggesogn2
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 18, 2013
conducting rigorous science and developing methods to avert calamity are what are important.

But Mann's 'peers' slapped him down for is lack of rigor for his Hockey Stick curve. Of course he had to fudge the data to motivate POLITICAL confiscation of wealth to avert an AGW perceived calamity.
And he has been rewarded with a research institute with Penn State, which allowed football coaches to molest children.

Like Enron, Gore and others promote govt intervention to profit from it.
"His firm invested $75million in the company, Silver Springs, ... He was then made an unpaid consultant for the company.

Last week his investment appeared to pay off: The U.S. Energy Department announced $3.4billion in smart grid grants. Of those grants, $560million went to companies with which Silver Springs has contracts. "
http://www.dailym...nge.html

ryggesogn2
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 18, 2013
Doesn't invalidate the data that supporting AGW is among the worst way of achieving the goals of money (or power in the game of science.)

Based upon the biased articles on physorg and the APS flatly stating AGW debate is NOT allowed, how does any research on climate get published (power in universities, publish or perish) without promoting AGW?
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 18, 2013
"The greatest scandal connected to global warming is not exaggeration, fraud or destruction of data to conceal the weakness of the argument. It is those who are personally profiting from promoting this fantasy at the expense of the rest of us."
"Mr. Gore is not the only one profiting from climate fraud. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with Mr. Gore, is also the director general of the Energy and Resources Institute. The New Delhi-based research group has received substantial financial grants to examine the issue of the world's vanishing glaciers,"

Read more: http://www.washin...LGCtIecG
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 18, 2013
"Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama's historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money."
http://articles.w...-al-gore
This is called crony "capitalism", which is also known as socialism. The govt picks winners and losers and the well connected profit.
Why aren't the socialists here opposed to such deals?
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 18, 2013
The RESULTS of outcome based science policy, FAILURE:

"he numbers remain the same: 23 bankrupt, 29 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 52. While billions of "green-energy taxpayer money is gone, and we know that the majority of the loans (90 percent) were funneled to Obama and high-ranking Democrat cronies, "
http://greencorru...61oYkPvf
aroc91
3 / 5 (2) Feb 18, 2013
riggsuckin'


As if obama_socks' "Blotto" idiocy wasn't enough.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 18, 2013
we can assess whether programs are appropriately structured for delivering the societal outcomes that we expect them to accomplish.

The problem with thsi train of thought is that people usually fnid applications for scientific results that are not envisioned in advance. Science can't be planned on the same scale as engineering.
The outcome of putting a man on the moon and bringing him home was a well defined outcome

That's engineering - not science.

Power is more important than money to AGWites.

So now you're switching from "it's all about money" to "it's al about power"?

What sort of power do these AGWites (as if there was even such a thing) have? What benefits do they get for themselves out of it?
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 18, 2013
What benefits do they get for themselves out of it?

Papers published, research institutes:
http://www.arp.harvard.edu/
http://www.essc.psu.edu/
You don't believe these are positions of power and influence in academia?
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 18, 2013
That's engineering - not science.

It's ALL engineering.
Science is just another heuristic.
"A heuristic is anything that provides a plausible aid or direction in the solution of a problem but is, in the final analysis, unjustified, incapable of justification, and fallible. If you desire change, if this change is to be the best available, if the situation is complex and poorly understood, and if the solution is constrained by limited resources, then you are in the presence of an engineering problem."

http://www.me.ute...OUP.html
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
Papers published, research institutes:

You publish papers in any case (it's a "publish or perish" world) - no matter what you work on.

You don't believe these are positions of power and influence in academia?

As the article linked by sennekuyl says: It's much easier to get a big paycheck on Wall Street with the kinds of skills you have as a scientist.
Likewise it's MUCH easier to get a position of power elsewhere. Many positions of "power" in academia are held by tenure. You have to wait for someone to die to get that position. Doing research in one field over another does not accelerate that process.

And seriously: If you think any researcher is in it for money or power then you don't know the first thing about what goes on in a researcher's mind.
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
BTW, Anti, the article is in the journal Issues in Science AND Technology, which encompasses engineering.
So you don't think any science was involved with putting a men on the moon and returning them safely?
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 18, 2013
It's much easier to get a big paycheck on Wall Street with the kinds of skills you have as a scientist.


Not everyone is motivated by money.
If you think any researcher is in it for money or power

How many of those researchers would be willing to publish their research anonymously? Have you?
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
"Pressure on scientists to publish has led to a situation where any paper, however bad, can now be printed in a journal that claims to be peer-reviewed"
"The blame for this sad situation lies with the people who have imposed a publish-or-perish culture, namely research funders and senior people in universities. To have "written" 800 papers is regarded as something to boast about rather than being rather shameful. University PR departments encourage exaggerated claims, and hard-pressed authors go along with them."
" Everyone wants to publish in Nature, because it's seen as a passport to promotion and funding. The Nature Publishing Group has cashed in by starting dozens of other journals with Nature in the title."
http://www.guardi...-science
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2013
"science would grind to a halt if there was no ego or fame involved in discovery. Scientists are human beings and most humans need rewards of one kind or another to keep us going."
http://blogs.natu...-science
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2013
So you don't think any science was involved with putting a men on the moon and returning them safely?

Not from the time one where the entire thing was planned. The science that made it all possible was done well before that.

the article is in the journal Issues in Science AND Technology, which encompasses engineering.

The articel speaks about science/research planning - not technology planning.
Your argument is like "It's published in 'science and landscaping' - so therefore it must talk about landscaping."
What kind of moron-logic is that?

Not everyone is motivated by money.

Exactly. And not everyone is motivated by power. These are people who have spent a decade (at least) learning stuff - stuff that is HARD to learn. Because they love it.

And that is something you will never understand - because you think everyone will go that lazy/easy/money/power way. But some people are different.

Artists.

Scientists.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2013
"science would grind to a halt if there was no ego or fame involved in discovery. Scientists are human beings and most humans need rewards of one kind or another to keep us going."

Science would grind to a halt just as much as music or painting would grind to a halt - not at all. Some people just love doing what they do, and take the cuts in other areas willingly (less pay, no power, etc. )

The reward you get is doing stuff no other human has ever done before. Ever. That is a high better than any drug. You see mountain climbers stop because there's no money in it?

Recognition is certainly nice - but not in the way you think. Do you have any idea how cool it is when someone cites your paper and builds their own work based on your results?
It's like being part of history. You've done something that has helped shape all of human knowledge - and nothing will ever undo that (unlike political squabbles, wars, economics, and other childish endeavors)