Society

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 547–551 | Cite as

The Political Epistemology of Science-Based Policy-Making

Social Science and Public Policy

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Epistemology Expertise Normativity Politics Science 

Further Reading

  1. Arimoto, T., & Sato, Y. 2012. Rebuilding Public Trust in Science for Policy-making. Science and Society, 337, 1176–1177.Google Scholar
  2. Bocking, S. 2013. Science and Society: The Structures of Scientific Advice. Global Environmental Politics, 13(2), 154–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Budtz Pedersen, D., & Hendricks, F. H. 2013. Science Bubbles. Philosophy & Technology, 45(3), 250–266.Google Scholar
  4. Commission, E. 2008. Scientific Evidence for Policy Making. Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General for Research. Brussels.Google Scholar
  5. Contandriopoulos, D., Lemire, M., Denis, J.-L., & Tremblay, E. 2010. Knowledge Exchange Processes in Organizations and Policy Arenas: A Narrative Systematic Review of the Literature. The Milbank Quarterly, 88(4), 444–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Estlund, D. M. 2011. Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. EurActiv. 2013. Top EU scientist calls for ethical standards to ease suspicion of industr, Published 11 April 2013, available at: http://www.euractiv.com [accessed 1 November 2013].
  8. EuroBarameter 2010. Science and Technology Special Report. Brussels: European Commission. (online version http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_340_en.pdf)
  9. Gardiner, H., & Broad, W. J. 2009. “Scientists Welcome Obama’s Words”, New York Times. January, 21, 2009.Google Scholar
  10. Gieryn, T. F. 1983. Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and nterests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists. American Sociological Review, 48(6), 781–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gluckman, P. 2014. The art of science advice to government. Nature, 507, 163–165 (13 March 2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Holdren, J.P. 2011. Next Steps to Ensuring Scientific Integrity, Communication from the White House, October 31, 2011 available at: www.whitehouse.gov [accessed 1 November 2013].
  13. Jasanoff, S. 2009. The Essential Parallel between Science and Democracy, Seed Magazine.com, 17 February 2009.Google Scholar
  14. Kappel, K. 2012. Democratizing Science: What could it mean?, lecture at the conference “Democratizing Science”, 14 December 2012, University of Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  15. Lentsch, J., & Weingart, P. (Eds.). 2011. The Politics of Scientific Advice: Institutional Design for Quality Assurance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Nowotny, H., Scott, P., & Gibbons, M. 2001. Re-thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Pielke, R. A. 2007. The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Stehr, N. 2013. An Inconvenient Democracy: Knowledge and Climate Change. Society, 50(1), 55–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sutherland, W. J., Bellingan, L., Bellingham, J. R., Blackstock, J. J., Bloomfield, R. M., et al. 2012. A Collaboratively-Derived Science-Policy Research Agenda. PLoS ONE, 7(3), e31824. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CopenhagenCopenhagen S.Denmark

Personalised recommendations