A STRATEGY FOR ASSESSING SCIENCE

Behavioral and Social Research on Aging

Committee on Assessing Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging

Irwin Feller and Paul C. Stern, Editors

Center for Studies of Behavior and Development

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging A STRATEGY FOR ASSESSING SCIENCE Behavioral and Social Research on Aging Committee on Assessing Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging Irwin Feller and Paul C. Stern, Editors Center for Studies of Behavior and Development Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by Award No. NO1-OD-4-2139, Task Order No. 122 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Health and Human Services. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A Strategy for Assessing science : behavioral and social research on aging / Committee on Assessing Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging, Center for Studies of Behavior and Development, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education ; Irwin Feller and Paul C. Stern, editors. p. ; cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-13: 978-0-309-10397-8 (pbk.) ISBN-10: 0-309-66759-3 (pdf) 1. Gerontology—United States. 2. Aging—Government policy—United States. I. Feller, Irwin. II. Stern, Paul C., 1944- III. Center for Studies of Behavior and Development (U.S.). Committee on Assessing Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging. [DNLM: 1. Aging—United States. 2. Research Design—United States. 3. Behavioral Research—United States. 4. Cognition Disorders—United States. WT 20 A846 2007] HQ1064.U5A87 2007 305.260973—dc22 2006039253 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet <http://www.nap.edu>. Printed in the United States of America. Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2007). A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging, Committee on Assessing Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging. Irwin Feller and Paul C. Stern, Editors. Center for Studies of Behavior and Development, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging COMMITTEE ON ASSESSING BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH ON AGING IRWIN FELLER (Chair), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC WENDY BALDWIN, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Kentucky PAUL B. BALTES, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin RICHARD DeVEAUX, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Williams College JAMES JACKSON, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor JANICE KIECOLT-GLASER, Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University ROBERT E. KOHLER, Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania MICHELE LAMONT, Department of Sociology, Harvard University LEAH L. LIGHT, Department of Psychology, Pitzer College DANIEL McFADDEN, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley GARY SANDEFUR, College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison SHRIPAD TULJAPURKAR, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University GEORGE E. WALKER, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Stanford, CA CAROL WEISS, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University DAVID WISE, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University PAUL C. STERN, Study Director LINDA A. DePUGH, Administrative Assistant

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging Dedication This report is dedicated to the memory of Paul B. Baltes, director of the Center of Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, who died on November 7, 2006. Paul was an active contributor in the committee’s early meetings, before illness limited his further participation in person. His expertise in multiple facets of aging research, breadth of perspective on the science policy and organizational issues embedded in the committee’s charge, and above all, skill, warmth, and civility in helping forge common ground on which individuals from disparate fields could base their analysis and recommendations were singular contributions that suffused subsequent committee meetings and the preparation of this report.

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging Preface This report responds to a request from the Office of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) at the National Institute on Aging for a study on how best to assess the progress and vitality of areas of behavioral and social science research on aging and on how to identify the factors that contribute to the likelihood of discoveries in areas of aging research. BSR’s request embodies both some of the longest standing and most current of questions confronted in the formulation of national science policies, in both the United States and other countries. The request includes criteria questions, such as what kinds of science should the public sector, or specific agencies, fund; selection mechanism questions, such as what procedures should be used to implement these criteria; principal-agent decision questions, such as which individual(s) or groups of individuals should possess the authority to make decisions regarding choice of areas of funding or selection of specific research proposals; conditions for success questions, such as the size and composition of the most productive research unit, ranging from single investigators to large teams comprised of researchers to several disciplines; and quality assessment questions, such as the compatibility between established disciplinary-based procedures for organizing selection panels and assessing the importance of scientific findings with statements about the increased salience of research done at the intersections of fields or the interstices between and among them. These questions in part derive from broad trends in the United States and elsewhere toward increased demands for accountability and documentation of performance on the part of government agencies across all functional areas, including public-sector support of science and technology. In

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging this respect, the above questions connect logically to those subsumed within the Government Performance and Results Act, the President’s R&D Investment Criteria, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART). There is a special salience to BSR’s request. From the perspective of a single federal agency and program officer, it poses many of the very same questions that are latent in recent calls by John Marburger, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, for a “new science of science policy.” Addressing the specific operational needs of a single office in the context of the larger historical, policy, and analytical discourse on criteria and mechanisms for setting research priorities, evaluating returns from past investments and identifying the factors that contribute to research productivity is obviously not simple. As noted above, BSR’s request connects to long-standing, generic issues of science policy. The committee’s task (and obligation) was to be responsive to the specific charge from a specific sponsor. The report has attempted to address both the general and the specific aspects of BSR’s request. It places the request within the larger and long-standing search for criteria and methodologies for assessing the vitality and performance of fields of scientific inquiry and determining the conditions that lead to scientific success. At the same time, it addresses BSR’s mission to support behavioral and social science research on aging, the organizational context in which it operates, and the fields of research it supports. Likewise, the report’s recommendations are directed specifically at meeting BSR’s programmatic concerns. Retracing at selected points well-known issues, the report also makes more explicit than earlier studies and recent reports several of the organizational, political, and methodological issues that permeate and beset debates about criteria for scientific choice. From this vantage point, it notes how its findings and recommendations connect to larger science policy themes, including areas of needed research to strengthen the scientific basis on which science policy decisions are made. Attending to both the specific and the general intellectual and policy richness embedded in BSR’s request for this study inevitably requires trade-offs about breadth and depth of coverage of selected topics. The committee’s choices and the rationales behind them are detailed in the body of the report. In general, to increase the near-term prospective usefulness of its recommendations, the committee has chosen to focus its review of methodological techniques on those now used or considered by U.S. federal science agencies. Coverage is provided of a larger range of research forecasting and assessment techniques, such as used by U.S. industry and by European countries, but for reasons noted not with extensive detail. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: James Banks, Professor of Economics, University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies; Don Brenneis, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz; Margaret Gatz, University of Southern California; Robert Hauser, Center for Demography, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Diana Hicks, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology; Guohua Li, Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University; Duncan T. Moore, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester; Zur Shapira, Stern School of Business, New York University; and Neil Smelser, Department of Sociology, University of California. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Marshall S. Smith, Education Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Irwin Feller, Chair Committee on Assessing Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   The Purpose of the Study   7      The Committee’s Charge,   9      Techniques and Processes for Science Assessment,   11      Goals of the Study,   14      Organization of the Report,   17      Notes,   18 2   The NIA Behavioral and Social Research Program   20      Strategic Goals of NIA,   20      The Diverse BSR Research Portfolio,   22      Decision-Making Processes at BSR,   28      Research Review in NIH,   33      Notes,   38 3   The Stakes in Research Assessment   40      Brief History of Federal Science Priority Setting,   42      Debate over Priority Setting and Assessment Mechanisms,   47      Research Assessment and the Issue of Power,   59      Notes,   65

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A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging 4   Progress in Science   67      Theories of Scientific Progress,   67      Nature of Scientific Progress,   70      Indicators of Scientific Progress,   80      Factors That Contribute to Scientific Discoveries,   84      Implications for Decision Making,   89      Notes,   92 5   Methods of Assessing Science   95      A Framework: Analysis and Deliberation as Assessment Strategies,   97      Analytical Methods,   99      Deliberative Methods,   108      Analytic-Deliberative Methods,   111      Conclusions and Research Needs,   116      Notes,   123 6   Conclusions and Recommendations   124      Conclusions,   126      Principles for Priority Setting,   130      Recommendations,   132     References   137     Appendix Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff   157