New microsite connects science with policy for the public good

pibs cover 2Researchers with solid data or evidence that could go a ways in crafting good policy routinely hear cries these days that they must push their findings into the public sphere for the public good. That was a major impetus for the creation of the new annual journal,  Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PIBBS), produced by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences with SAGE as publisher.

The debut issue of PIBBS appeared late last year and features 33 articles in social and personality psychology focusing on topics including health, education, justice, the environment, and inequality. Each academic article offers evidence-based findings that have clear and practical applications for current concerns, and are written specifically to make behavioral and brain sciences accessible to a range of audiences.

But “academic articles” often have a hard time penetrating the policy arena, regardless of their merit or accessibility. Journalism, on the other hand — often without evidence on its side — freely leaps into public debates. And so the federation and the Social Science Space website have teamed to present op-ed length articles written by professional journalists about each of the longer pieces appearing in PIBBS.

These shorter articles by writers Suzanne Bouffard, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Parents, the Harvard Education Letter, and other outlets, and Jennifer Anderson, who specializes in reporting on health and science, will appear on Social science Space throughout 2015 at roughly two-week intervals. The short articles will collected on a microsite, available here, on the Social Science Space website after their run on the site’s homepage.

Their work helps draw attention to the currency and timelessness of what already appears in PIBBS while offering a consumer-friendly way for the general public and overstretched policymakers to sample the scholarship available on pressing concerns.

For example, the first journalistic article from this collaboration, reporting on “Racial Bias and the Criminal Justice System” and based on a PIBBS article Tufts University diversity researchers Samuel R. Sommers and Satia A. Marotta, appeared just as a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri was declining to prosecute a police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed African American teenager. A second article, on reducing workplace bias against minority immigrants, appeared during the debate in the U.S. Congress over reversing President Obama’s relaxing of deportation enforcement.

Susan Fiske

Susan Fiske

PIBBS is available by subscription, with free access to FABBS members the first year. PIBBS is edited by FABBS President Susan T. Fiske, with Eugene Borgida and Brenda Major as guest editors for the debut issue. Fiske is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Professor of Public Affairs at Princeton University. Her research addresses how stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are encouraged or discouraged by social relationships, such as cooperation, competition, and power.

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