Policy advocacy is defined as active, covert, or inadvertent support of a particular policy or class of policies. Whether it is proper for scientists and other technical experts to act as advocates for their personal policy preferences is contentious. In the scientific community, much of the controversy around policy advocacy involves precisely defining the proper role of science and scientists in the political process. Some scientists choose to act as policy advocates, while others regard such a dichotomous role as inappropriate.
Providing technical and scientific information to inform policy deliberations in an objective and relevant way is recognized as a difficult problem in many scientific and technical professions. The challenge and conflicts have been studied for those working as stock analysts in brokerage firms, for medical experts testifying in malpractice trials, for funding officers at international development agencies, and for intelligence analysts within governmental national security agencies. The job of providing accurate, relevant, and policy neutral information is especially challenging if highly controversial policy issues (such as climate change) that have a significant scientific component. The use of normative science by scientists is a common method used to subtly advocate for preferred policy choices.
- Lackey (2007)
- Shannon (1996)
- Lackey (2007)
- Rykiel (2001)
- Boni (2001)
- Caldwell (2005)
- Béné (2005)
- Armstrong (2002)
- Pielke (2004)
- Scott (2007)
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- Shannon (1996). Science Advocacy is Inevitable: Deal with It. Society of American Foresters. http://web2.law.buffalo.edu/faculty/meidinger/scholarship/saf961.html