About the Interagency Working Group on Science of Science Policy (SoSP IWG)

The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on the Science of Science Policy (SoSP) is chartered by the Subcommitee on Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) of the Committee on Science (CoS).  The following agencies are represented on the SoSP: Department of Agriculture; Department of Commerce; Department of Defense; Department of Education; Department of Energy (Co-chair); Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Interior; Department of State; Department of Transportation; Department of Veterans Affairs;
Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and,National Science Foundation (Co-chair). The following organizations in the Executive Office of the President are also represented on the Working Group: Office of Management and Budget; and,Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The SoSP developed the following definition of the “science of science policy” that describes its purpose and scope:

The science of science policy is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that seeks to develop theoretical and empirical models of the scientific enterprise. This scientific basis can be used to help government, and society in general, make better R&D management decisions by establishing a scientifically rigorous, quantitative basis from which policymakers and researchers may assess the impacts of the Nation’s scientific and engineering enterprise, improve their understanding of its dynamics, and assess the likely outcomes. Examples of research in the science of science policy include models to understand the production of science, qualitative and quantitative methods to estimate the impact of science, and processes for choosing from alternative science portfolios.

In November 2008, the SoSP developed and published a Roadmap outlining the Federal efforts necessary for the long-term development of a science of science policy. On December 3, 2008, this Roadmap was presented to the Science of Science Policy Community and feedback from that workshop, and subsequent workshops between 2009 – 2012, shaped a set of interagency research priorities addressing the scientific challenges confronting the unique science policy analysis needs of the Federal agencies in science, technology, and innovation. These workshops have helped focus the SoSP’s efforts in the development and use of best practices, emerging tools, methods, data, and data infrastructure to enable science policy decision-makers to base investment decisions on more rigorous and quantitative analyses.

Among the primary functions of the IWG are to:

  • Identify opportunities to develop tools, theories, and methodologies that will advance the science of science policy, and recommend joint research, data, and evaluation project that would enable Federal agencies to collaborate, coordinate, and leverage resources and efforts.
  • Cooperate in the development of the STAR METRICS data infrastructure and analysis capability as it becomes a Federal-wide capability that will enable the SoSP community to do rigorous analysis of the impacts of Federal S&T investments.
  • Sustain a partnership between the Research Business Models and the SoSP IWGs on the one hand and the Federal Demonstration Project, (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/fdp/index.htm), on the other, to develop a central, Federal-wide profile for Federal government researchers and for extramural principal investigators and researchers funded by science agencies. This project will serve as a new source of data to document, publicize, and measure the attainment of Federal goals associated with science, technology, and innovation activities.  This project is called SciENcv <add link>
  • Conduct workshops with the principal investigators of grants from the NSF’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program to promote and promulgate emerging best practices.
  • Periodically assess progress in the development and application of science of science policy. tools and techniques, determine whether course corrections are needed, and submit progress reports to the SBE on at least an annual basis.