Fighting Back on Capitol Hill

CoburnA recent article published in Nature reports some of the efforts that the Social and Behavioral Science Community have made to defend funding of social science research on Capitol Hill:

“Silver estimates that he has made about 25 visits to Capitol Hill since March to try to ensure that the NSF is still able to support a wide range of social, behavioral and economic (SBE) research. And SAGE Publications, a major publisher of social-science journals based in Thousand Oaks, California, has this year poured some US$90,000 into lobbying for sustained NSF funding.”

The article also discusses the short and long-term effects of the Coburn Amendment:

“Researchers say that the March bill is already biting. The law includes a provision inserted by Senator Tom Coburn (Republican, Oklahoma) requiring the NSF to certify that all political-science projects it supports will benefit national security or US economic interests. In July, the NSF made a last-minute decision to scrap one of its two annual calls for political-science grants. The agency has not explained why, but many researchers blame Coburn’s amendment.
“This is catastrophic intervention in peer review,” says Jane Mansbridge, a political scientist at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who studies the democratic process. Mansbridge adds that she will not apply for funding in the NSF’s next grant call, in January, because she does not think that her proposal on the dynamics of negotiations will meet the Coburn amendment’s criteria.”

To read the full article, click here.

If you or your organization would like to get involved in this advocacy work, please let us know. If you are already doing similar work, we would love to hear about it so that we can coordinate efforts. Please email

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SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Melbourne and Washington DC.

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