Policy and evidence – they’re all at it

I’m always intrigued by the way that new topics emerge, and suddenly everyone is talking about something that previously no-one was talking about. That’s the sign that we need a new library classmark or indexing term or a new journal (perish the thought!).
Anyway today I have observed that evidence and policy is suddenly “in”. My evidence:
1. Select Committee invites evidence on government policy-making
2. The Role for Science in US Regulatory Policy
3. Skeptics in the Pub, Westminster
Quick translation, if you’ve no time to follow the links:
The UK Select Committee on Universities, etc is commissioning work to assess the Government’s use of evidence in policy-making. This is in preparation for the creation of the new Science and Technology Committee on 1 October. They are looking policy on uncontentious issues like homeopathic products, dyslexia, swine flu vaccinations; the teaching of ‘pseudoscience’ at universities; measuring the benefits of publicly-funding research; the future of genetic modification, and synthetic biology.
Meanwhile, over in the States, the Science for Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., has suggested how U.S. regulatory agencies improve their use of input from outside scientists. They urge the government to be more transparent in selecting and vetting experts, clearer in defining what questions it wants answered, and more rigorous in reviewing the relevant literature.
Finally, the Twitterverse is buzzing with news of a new Sceptics in the Pub group, WestminsterSITP A possible new meeting of Skeptics in the Pub focusing on policy related matters such as regulation of complementary and alternative medicine, climate change policy, scrutiny of government policy and decision making. Their intention is to engage more with policy makers, decision makers, and regulators. There is a Facebook page and a Twitter presence.
Clearly policy and evidence is one of today’s hot topics.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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One Response to Policy and evidence – they’re all at it

  1. Henry Gee says:

    Evidence Schmevidence. What we need is Faith and Belief
    (ducks)