COSSA Offers Social Science Recommendations to New US President

In December, the Consortium of Social Science Associations, an umbrella organization that has served as a united voice in Washington, D.C. for social and behavioral science groups, offered 10 recommendations to the incoming presidential administration centered on using insights for the disciplines to improve policy.

Joseph Biden
Joseph Biden (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Putting Social and Behavioral Science to Work for America: 10 Recommendations to the Biden Administration outlines tangible actions the incoming presidential administration can take. ”The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that ‘business as usual’ policies and practices, even when it comes to science, are not enough,” the report argues. “The Biden-Harris Administration has before it an opportunity to strengthen the U.S. scientific enterprise by making it more sustainable, diverse, and responsive to emerging needs. By investing in and utilizing social and behavioral science insights, the incoming administration can put people back at the center of policymaking.”

The report makes 10 specific recommendations across three broad themes to support U.S. research and use social science research for evidence-based policy making. Those themes, and the recommendations made, are:

Restore Trust in Science and Government Data

  • Reverse the damaging policies of the last administration and rebuild the scientific enterprise.
  •  Recommit to the use of well-qualified, independent, unbiased scientific advice in effective policymaking.
  • Protect the integrity, stature and independence of the federal statistical system to preserve trust in federal data

Champion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science

  • Use social and behavioral science to build a diverse and inclusive U.S. scientific enterprise that reflects the diversity of the American population.
  • Facilitate the collection of demographic data that reflects how Americans view themselves.

Expand the Use of Social and Behavioral Science and Data in Decision-Making by …

… Responding to COVID-19

  •  Apply insights from the social and behavioral sciences to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic

… Building Scientific Capacity in the Executive Branch

  •  Embed social and behavioral science expertise throughout the federal government to inform and strengthen policy decisions.
  •  Promote strong stewardship of the federal statistical system.

… Enhancing the Scientific and Data Enterprise

  •  Champion robust, sustained funding for research agencies and social and behavioral science Research programs.
  • Strengthen federal statistical and data infrastructure

The report includes a variety of recommended actions to take place throughout the new administration’s four years – on day one of the new administration, by day 30, by day 100, in the first year and during the full term. A Day 1 action, for example, would be to “Appoint a presidential science advisor/ Office of Science and Technology Policy director who understands the role of social and behavioral science in addressing our nation’s most pressing challenges.” A project for the first year would be to “reinstate the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team or similar function in the executive office of the president.”

The full 24-page document is available on COSSA’s website.

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Russell John Foote

lt is well established that social scientists have for a long time been investigating g social problems that have persisted in all societies; that these problems (crime, poverty, unemployment, workplace challenges among others) have persisted and increased despite the fact that governments have spent millions of dollars to reduce them and mitigate their effects. On that basis, I think that COSSA should propose and champion through the new U.S. President the need for the immediate introduction of a Nobel Prize for the Social Sciences inclusive of Sociology, Psychology, Criminology and Organizational Change and Development. The major condition and criteria for… Read more »

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