Investing in Research Infrastructure in the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.
1998



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--> Investing in Research Infrastructure in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1998

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--> 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. 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. Bruce M. Alberts 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. William 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. Kenneth I. Shine 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. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study was not supported by outside sponsors. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06248-9 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Call 200-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area). This report is also available on line at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America. Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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--> COMMISSION ON BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES AND EDUCATION NEIL J. SMELSER (Chair), Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California DEBORAH L. BALL, Department of Education, Michigan State University ALFRED BLUMSTEIN, Heinz School of Urban and Public Affairs, Carnegie Mellon University JACQUELYNNE ECCLES, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan RICHARD F. ELMORE,* Graduate School of Education, Harvard University BARUCH FISCHHOFF, Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University CHRISTOPHER S. JENCKS, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University JOHN F. KIHLSTROM, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley ELEANOR E. MACCOBY, Department of Psychology, Stanford University CHARLES F. MANSKI,* Department of Economics, Northwestern University CORA B. MARRETT, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Massachusetts BARBARA J. McNEIL, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School ROBERT A. MOFFITT, Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University ROBERT D. REISCHAUER, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC T. PAUL SCHULTZ, Department of Economics, Yale University CHRISTOPHER A. SIMS,* Department of Economics, Yale University BURTON H. SINGER, Office of Population Research, Princeton University EDWARD E. SMITH, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan BARBARA BOYLE TORREY, Executive Director PAULA J. MELVILLE, Administrative Associate *   Through June 1998

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--> Acknowledgments The Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE) appreciates the interest of the National Science Foundation's Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research Directorate in seeking public input on the subject of infrastructure in the behavioral and social sciences. In response to its request, CBASSE organized a public workshop, chaired by Baruch Fischhoff. We would like to thank the workshop participants who helped CBASSE members in the development of their recommendations about how the process of selecting infrastructure proposals should be changed. The participants were generous with both their time and their ideas. David Featherman, Kenneth Prewitt, and Eric Wanner deserve special thanks for continuing the critical dialogue with CBASSE members after the workshop. The Committee on National Statistics also reviewed the draft twice and provided valuable comments and suggestions. At the staff level, Eugenia Grohman provided her fine editorial and substantive judgment. Paula Melville made the research and administrative support for this report look easy. This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the 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 content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals, who are neither officials nor employees of the NRC, for their participation in the review of this report: Philip E. Converse, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan (emeritus); James Ebert, Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University; Zvi Griliches, Department of Economics, Harvard University; Norman Hackerman, Robert A. Welch Foundation; Samuel H. Preston, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania; Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis; and Harrison Shull, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (emeritus). While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC. NEIL J. SMELSER CHAIR, COMMISSION ON BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES AND EDUCATION

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1     Research Infrastructure in the Behavioral and Social Sciences   3     The Importance and Role of Infrastructure   4     Background   4     Definitions   5     Trends in Infrastructure Investments   7     Selection Process for Research Infrastructure Projects   9     Current Process and Possible Modifications   9     Recommended Selection Process   13     Funding Cycles   13     Project Duration   13     Evaluation Criteria   14     Selection Criteria   14     Effective Management of the Investments in Research Infrastructure   16     Conclusion   18     References   20     Appendixes     A:   Workshop Agenda and List of Participants   23 B:   Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Selected Reports that Dealt with Infrastructure Issues   27 C:   Other Definitions of Research Infrastructure   29

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