Knowledge Use and Exchange for the Making of National Science and Innovation Strategies

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Tahara, Keiichiro
Yarime, Masaru
Yoshizawa, Go
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Note: This is part of the panel presentation "Knowledge Use and Exchange for Policy and Society in Japan: Concepts and Practices." Research questions addressed in this presentation are what kind of information and knowledge was used for the making of the Science and Technology Basic Plan (STBP) and in particular, to what extent academic policy analysis was useful in the making process. A further question is what kind of field in which practitioners, researchers and decision-makers communicate and exchange their knowledges would be effective and legitimate in the making of national science and innovation strategies. Following interviews with working and former government administrators heavily engaged in the making of the Basic Plans, qualitative data analysis is applied to organize interview and document text data and form a logical structure implicitly embedded in the contents of Basic Plans. We also conducted interviews with researchers and practitioners concerning evidence-based policy making or the use and exchange of knowledge on national science and innovation strategies in the Netherlands, France, England and Scotland. Preliminary Results We firstly defined the term "policy analysis" discriminating it from other information and knowledge. For this, a two-dimensional taxonomy of information and knowledge used for policymaking roughly illustrated by Parsons (1995) was developed with more fine-tuned and detailed definitions: 1) Internal vs. External: Whether or not information and knowledge is generated mainly by decision-makers and their affiliated actors; 2)Formal vs. Informal: Whether or not the procedure of information and knowledge generation is authenticated both institutionally and methodologically. Then, policy analysis is defined as an activity with accountability and policy-orientation, or information and knowledge generated thereby. Accountability is the extent to which information and knowledge generation activity is publicly accounted and the responsibility for the activity and account is clear. It comprises explicitness and definiteness of the generation activity and responsibility (voluntary openness), logical consistency and capability of being referred (endogenous logic), and multiplicity and rationality of data and methods (methodological validity). Policy-orientation (exogenous logic) is the extent to which the logic is explicitly consistent with the endogenous logic and is developed directed to the actual policy process. The analytical result shows that internal and formal policy analysis (mainly by NISTEP) and internal and informal policy information has been increasingly used, but external and informal policy analysis has remained unused. We also find that issues on the decision-making system lie in deliberation institutions/processes, institutional void of the discussion of meta-analysis on how policy studies should be incorporated into the decision-making, flawed system of commissioned research, interactions between policymakers and researchers, short job rotation system in bureaucracy, few opportunities for policymakers to increase capacities (to identify what kind of research is necessary) as practitioners, and biased perspectives toward promotion. With regard to the knowledge generation system, first of all, the policy research community is in its infancy. Immaturity of (internal and external) think-tanks and flawed university training system for policy researchers are also issues to be seriously considered when researchers are less aware of policymakers' needs. Generated knowledge itself may not be able to guarantee its quality because of flawed data management system for policy analysis, few studies on national issues but more on bureaucratic sectoral interests, and few long-term studies except Delphi. Furthermore, the focus on review studies (performance evaluation) does not lead to the institutional and procedural reform of the planning. What we are trying to do is actively changing this situation by setting a number of interaction fields and communication spaces in which these actors come to meet. Our reflexive attempt is the workshop jointly organized by academic societies for science and innovation and for science and technology studies (STS), and supported by a science communication network involving working scientists and engineers. The workshop is to be held in March 2009 and the result will be presented in this conference.
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