Policy Sciences

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 383–393 | Cite as

Beyond the two communities: a reply to Mead’s “why government often ignores research”

  • Joshua Newman
  • Brian Head
Discussion and Commentary

In a recent issue of this journal, Lawrence Mead lamented the underuse of academic research in policy making and argued that the primary reason for this underuse is that academics do not produce research that is relevant to policy makers. According to Mead, this situation arises from several factors: Academic research does not align with current political ideologies (Mead 2015, 260); academic research does not offer political strategies to help decision makers implement policy ideas (260–261); academics write in language that policy makers do not understand (264); and there is little incentive for professional academics to actively communicate with governments when universities typically prioritize academic publishing above all else (270).

Mead’s arguments echo Caplan’s (1979) influential, but flawed, imagining of the academic and policy spheres as “two communities,” whose members play by unique sets of rules, speak different languages, operate along conflicting timelines, respond to...


Policy Maker Academic Research Research Utilization Welfare Reform Policy Worker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Policy StudiesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Social Science ResearchThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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