I have conflicted feelings about the public money that goes to academic research — including political science — in this country. I admire and rely on the work that comes out of these disciplines. But for all the public money that goes to support them, there’s a decided lack of public-spiritedness in how they act.
The research is often locked away in pricey journals. There’s a premium placed on unnecessary convoluted rhetoric that confuses and dissuades interested outsiders. There’s almost no effort put into connecting research with the public debate — and academics who try and engage in it often risk professional and social sanction. If it were up to me, any research that took even a dollar of taxpayer funds would have to be in an open-access journal and stored in a publicly searchable repository. While much of this research deserves public support, the prevailing mores in academia don’t.
But I have no conflicted feelings about wanting scientific decisions to remain free from meddling congressmen. Perhaps there’s some process by which the NSF could do a better job judging research proposals. But I’m quite sure that process doesn’t include Jeff Flake looking over the NSF’s shoulder, telling it which subjects he likes and which he doesn’t.
I agree with all of the above, including his call for greater access to research. See, for example, this post.
On the American Community Survey, here is a Wall Street Journal piece.