The Political Epistemology of Science-Based Policy-Making
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- Pedersen, D.B. Soc (2014) 51: 547. doi:10.1007/s12115-014-9820-z
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Improving the use and impact of science-based policies and practices at the national and transnational level is important for enhancing the quality and legitimacy of democratic governance systems. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the major drivers behind strengthening the creation, application and mediation of scientific expertise for policy-making. Science-based policy-making can take different forms, such as evaluation of practices, implementation of independent or commissioned research, application of quantitative and qualitative analyses, or the development of statistical and environmental monitoring systems. However, scientific evidence is only one among several factors contributing to sound democratic decisions. Scientific expertise needs to be mediated through a complex process of social and political deliberation. The paper aims to identify the main policy challenges behind science advisory bodies and to set out an agenda for rebuilding public trust in science-based policy-making.