Archive | Science

Federal Funding of Scientific Research Produces Unexpected Successes

Seven researchers, including two Nobel Prize winners, will be honored today at the second annual Golden Goose Award ceremony, celebrating researchers whose seemingly odd or obscure federally funded research turned out to have a significant impact on society.
The awardees will be honored at a ceremony on Capitol Hill, where they will receive their awards from a bipartisan group of Members of Congress.

From the press release.  The Golden Goose website is here. A short item at Inside Higher Ed is here.

Several months ago, I wrote a post called “Why Study Social Science” and said this:

…it’s very hard to determine the value of any research ahead of time.  It’s hard because any one research project is narrow.  It’s hard because you can’t anticipate how one project might inform later ones.  It’s hard because some funding goes to create public goods—like large datasets—that many others will use, and those myriad projects also cannot be anticipated.  It’s hard because some research won’t work, and we can’t know that ahead of time.

The Golden Goose awards illustrate what I meant, as does Robert Putnam’s story.  This is all the more reason why cherry-picking projects that sound “silly” (duck penises, etc.) is not a useful way to evaluate the efficacy of federal funding of scientific research.

Continue Reading

If science tells you you can’t predict something, is it no longer science?

The NYT ran an op-ed last week by philosophers of Science Alex Rosenberg and Tyler Curtain that said that (1) economics is not a capital-S Science because it has no “record of improvement in predictive success” and (2) therefore the next Fed chair should be someone who understands that economics is not a capital-S Science and instead has “wisdom” and “a feeling for the economy.”  (Interestingly, experience was not mentioned, which you’d think would be more important the more the job is a matter of craft, as R and C say, than of book learning, which is mainly what Ben Bernanke had.  R and C applaud Bernanke for his craft.)

Harvard Econ theorist Eric Maskin wrote a letter in reply and then NYT did a “Room for Debate” exchange between Maskin and other readers.  Maskin made the point that explanation can be valuable and scientific independent of whether it leads to sharp predictions in some particular domain.  But most of the readers the Times printed were not buying this at all—for them, sufficient evidence that Economics is not a capital-S Science is that it can’t predict stock market movements and crashes reliably.  Rosenberg and Curtain also seem to have this in mind as the key example.

But what you could reasonably call a scientific thought experiment is enough to show that you can’t have a Scientific Theory that reliably predicts stock market movements and crashes:  If such a theory existed that predicted a giant market collapse on date T, the collapse wouldn’t happen on date T.  Ditto for forecasting market movements from publicly available data.  In the long run, or “in equilibrium” in the sense of the developed formal models of this kind of thing, market movements and crashes should be random or unpredictable based on public information.  Yes, that’s an “idealization,” and an idealization that R and C obliquely criticize at the end of their op-ed.  But it’s an idealization that provides an important and valid insight into the kind of system an asset market is.

The reply by reader David Berman raises this issue indirectly, but he concludes that it means that Economics can’t be a “proper” capital-S Science (“if only we could [predict market crashes] without the prediction’s entirely changing the behavior of the markets! That’s the other critical difference between economics and meteorology, or physics, or any of the disciplines we properly call scientific”).  I read what R and C are saying the same way, although it’s less spelled out there.  But can that be right?  I would have thought the argument should be that scientific inquiry has clarified the reasons for why a theory that predicts specific market movements or crashes is difficult, or impossible in the long run, in contrast to theories of simple physical systems.  In other words it’s not so much a case of inappropriate hubris of Economics in trying to be like Physics, but of a scientific effort producing a better and deeper understanding of why this sort of system (an asset market, here) is different from a physical system that doesn’t have agents that condition what they do on expectations about what others will do.

Of course, not all markets—or economic, political, or social interactions—have this specific dynamic that asset markets have, so the difficulties in predicting the stock market from public information do not imply that you can’t develop theory that makes reasonably good predictions in other areas (eg., basic supply and demand analysis for prices and quantities).  R and C were making a reasonable point about choosing Fed chairs.  Sure, I’d like someone who is wise and not rigidly attached to some particular mathematical idealization.  But the broader line of argument seems wrong.

Continue Reading

What are the (relatively) settled matters in the social sciences?

Nicholas Christakis asks (scroll to the P.P.P.S. at the end of the post):

What are the (relatively) settled matters in the social sciences? Can we social scientists can ever say that “we have pretty much figured this out” (as in the way biologists have figured out certain topics)?

My reply: I dunno. Krugman would say it’s settled that it’s a good idea to expand government hiring during a depression, but others disagree! For an example from psychology, stereotype threat is claimed by some to be very well established, while others have difficulty finding it at all. In various ares of social research, there’s debate about the replicability of all sorts of claimed effects.

Ideally, I think, once something is settled, this can be the staging point for more research. For example, Kahneman and Tversky demonstrated “anchoring and adjustment” and other so-called heuristics and biases. Then later researchers followed up with studies trying to crack open anchoring-and-adjustment, to understand experimentally how it happens and how to alter it.

Overall, I’d say that, if anything, social scientists perhaps don’t spend enough time re-confirming the definitive statements. There’s a real push toward novelty, to the extent that maybe we don’t have enough “gold standards” of well-established social patterns.

Continue Reading

Defensive political science responds defensively to an attack on social science

Nicholas Christakis, a medical scientist perhaps best known for his controversial claim (see also here), based on joint work with James Fowler, that obesity is contagious, writes:

The social sciences have stagnated. They offer essentially the same set of academic departments and disciplines that they have for nearly 100 years: sociology, economics, anthropology, psychology and political science. This is not only boring but also counterproductive, constraining engagement with the scientific cutting edge and stifling the creation of new and useful knowledge. . . .

I’m not suggesting that social scientists stop teaching and investigating classic topics like monopoly power, racial profiling and health inequality. But everyone knows that monopoly power is bad for markets, that people are racially biased and that illness is unequally distributed by social class. There are diminishing returns from the continuing study of many such topics. And repeatedly observing these phenomena does not help us fix them.

I have just a couple comments here. I’m no economist so I can let others discuss the bit about “monopoly power is bad for markets.” I assume that the study by economists of monopoly power is a bit more sophisticated than that!

I have studied racial profiling, and I can assure you that this work is not about the claim “that people are racially biased.” I can also assure you that, whatever it is we have learned, it’s not true that “everyone knows” it.

As Duncan Watts has written so memorably, it’s easy to say that everything is obvious (once you know the answer).

Regarding the question of illness being distributed by social class: Is it really true that “everybody knows,” for example, that Finland has higher suicide rates than Sweden, or that foreign-born Latinos have lower rates of psychiatric disorders. These findings are based on public data so everybody should know them, but in any case the goal of social science is not (just) to educate people on what should be known to them, but also to understand why. Why why why. And also to model the effects of potential interventions.

The study of the contagion of obesity is just fine. In fact, I was once part of an NIH panel where where we recommended funding some of this research. But to say that this is the real stuff, and then to dismiss studies of monopoly power, racial attitudes, and variation in disease rates—that’s just silly.

Resources are limited, and I think it’s good to have open discussion about scientific priorities. So I applaud Christakis for sticking out his neck to participate in this debate. Even though I don’t agree with his particular recommendations.

Continue Reading

Journal of Experimental Political Science

The American Political Science Association is coming out with a new journal:

The Journal of Experimental Political Science features research – be it theoretical, empirical, methodological, or some combination thereof – that utilizes experimental methods or experimental reasoning based on naturally occurring data. We define experimental methods broadly: research featuring random (or quasi-random) assignment of subjects to different treatments in an effort to isolate causal relationships between variables of interest. JEPS embraces all of the different types of experiments carried out as part of political science research, including survey experiments, laboratory experiments, field experiments, lab experiments in the field, natural and neurological experiments.

We invite authors to submit concise articles (around 2500 words) that immediately address the subject of the research (although in certain cases initial submissions can be longer than this limit with the understanding that if accepted the paper will be shortened within the word constraints). We do not require lengthy explanations regarding and justifications of the experimental method. Nor do we expect extensive literature reviews of pros and cons of the methodological approaches involved in the experiment unless the goal of the article is to explore these methodological issues. We expect readers to be familiar with experimental methods and therefore to not need pages of literature reviews to be convinced that experimental methods are a legitimate methodological approach. We also consider more lengthy articles in appropriate cases, as in the following examples: when a new experimental method or approach is being introduced and discussed, when a meta-analysis of existing experimental research is provided, or when new theoretical results are being evaluated through experimentation and the theoretical results are previously unpublished. Finally, we strongly encourage authors to submit null or inconsistent results from well-designed, executed, and analyzed experiments as well as replication studies of earlier experiments.

This looks good to me. There’s only one thing I’m worried about. Regular readers of the sister blog will be aware that there’s been a big problem in psychology, with the top journals publishing weak papers generalizing to the population based on Mechanical Turk samples and college students, lots of researcher degrees of freedom ensuring there will be no problem finding statistical significance, and with the sort of small sample sizes that ensure that any statistically significant finding will be noise, thus no particular reason to expect that patterns in the data will generalize to the larger population. A notorious recent example was a purported correlation between ovulation and political attitudes.

For some reason I seem to hear more about these sorts of papers in psycyhology than in poli sci (there was this paper by some political scientists, but it was not published in an actual poli sci journal).

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that the scientific claims being made in these papers are necessarily wrong, it’s just that these claims are not supported by the data. The papers are essentially exercises in speculation, “p=0.05” notwithstanding.

And I’m not saying that the authors of these papers are bad guys. I expect that they mostly just don’t know any better. They’ve been trained that “statistically significant” = real, and they go with that.

Anyway, I’m hoping this new journal of experimental political science will take a hard line and simply refuse to publish small-n experimental studies of small effects. Sometimes, of course, small-n is all you have, for example in a historical study of wars or economic depressions or whatever. But there you have to be careful to grapple with the limitations of your analyses. I’m not objecting to small-n studies of important topics. What I’m objecting to is fishing expeditions disguised as rigorous studies. In starting this new journal, we as a field just have to avoid the trap that the journal Psychological Science fell into, of seeming to feel an obligation to publish all sorts of iffy stuff that happened to combine headline-worthiness with (spurious) statistical significance.

P.S. I wrote this post last night and scheduled it to appear this morning. In the meantime, Josh posted more on this new journal. I hope it goes well.

Continue Reading

Climate Change and Political Scientists: Defining a Research Agenda

The following guest post is from University of Notre Dame political scientist Debra Javeline, who is collaborating with Notre Dame biologists, computer scientists, and other faculty on an interdisciplinary project on adaptation to climate change. She is leading a survey of the world’s top environmental biologists on how they assess the scientific, ethical, economic, and legal issues surrounding wildlife adaptation to climate change.


President Obama recently announced a plan to deal with the single most important global problem, climate change.  Included in the plan are policies to mitigate (reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby slow, stop, or in a dare-we-dream scenario, reverse climate change) and adapt (reduce our vulnerability by preparing for the inevitable impacts of a changed climate).  While the natural and physical science on the climate is clear and less disputed than on the vast majority of scientific topics, the politics of climate change is extremely complicated and understudied, which offers an important research opportunity for political scientists.

To date, political science has engaged climate change primarily in three areas:  (1) international relations, especially the lack of cooperation among nations on climate policy, (2) political theory, especially climate justice, and (3) the most obvious observations about the influence of fossil fuel interests in shaping policy and environmental outcomes.  However, there remain many other important research and policy questions about climate change that could be fruitfully addressed by political scientists.

For example, important debates about climate change require understanding the costs of mitigating and adapting to climate change, compared to the costs of not mitigating and adapting.  While political scientists may not be equipped to estimate these costs and benefits, they are precisely the scholars to analyze how politicians and constituents perceive costs and benefits and whether those perceived costs and benefits match the economists’ assessments.  Political scientists are the scholars who can tell us how political leaders and ordinary citizens behave in response to the perceived costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation.

For another example, important issues surround voting, which is currently not climate-based.  There is no evidence from the voting literature or even journalistic reports that most voters have a climate change litmus test for candidates or even factor climate issues into their voting decisions.  On average, citizens have just not perceived a sense of urgency in dealing with climate change.  Could it happen?  What explains why some citizens do perceive urgency?  What explains how a climate change denier comes to accept the climate reality and ultimately elevates the priority of climate change in voting or other political action?

Political scientists who study media and public opinion could also help understand what accounts for the use and effectiveness of political language as it relates to the climate change discussion, much as they do when analyzing political campaign advertisements.  For example, why are some forms of activism designed to prevent deforestation, fracking, and other hazardous activities called “ecological terrorism,” while mountaintop removal is not?  Who controls the language and dialogue surrounding climate change, is the language evolving over time, and how do changes in language matter for the success or failure of climate action?

Another important question is why policy on climate change is sometimes highly partisan and sometimes not.  For mitigation, politicians in the United States seem to divide predictably along party lines, and it is in the more localized and therefore self-serving arena of adaptation that partisanship seems to offer few if any clues about climate policy preferences.  Individual politicians such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie take action to defeat mitigation efforts while simultaneously scrambling to find funds to adapt.  Perhaps more puzzling is why policies to address climate change are met with so much more partisanship in the US than elsewhere: Political parties in most of Europe, for example, are not polarized about climate change policy, whether mitigation or adaptation.  What explains partisan cooperation and contestation over climate change policy is an important agenda for future research, particularly if the research could offer insights into the fostering of cooperation.

Moving to the international arena, the president pointed out the dilemma of asking developing nations to contribute to mitigation by halting their development –to live without cars, air conditioning, and other amenities to which Americans feel entitled—when the relative contributions of these nations to the climate problem has been very small.  He explained that gaining cooperation from developing nations, including emerging economies in areas highly vulnerable to climate change, rests to some extent on the wake-up call of adaptation: As these nations watch their coastlines recede, water supplies diminish, agriculture fail, forests burn, and populations suffer from increased disease and disaster, they may enter into productive partnerships with wealthier nations that can help them reduce vulnerability.  Development experts outside of political science are leading the charge in research on climate change policy and development, arguing that the problems are highly intertwined and cannot be studied in isolation.  Political scientists could contribute their insights to this growing literature by systematically studying the effects of climate policy (mitigation and/or adaptation) on development and development on climate policy and climate change itself.

The above are just examples of political science research questions relevant to the climate discussion.  There are dozens of others involving subfields across the discipline, meaning we are all relevant to the discussion.  The time has passed for us to “do something” about climate change.  We are at the point where we need to do everything.  As scholars, we have a responsibility to contribute whatever our respective specialties allow us to contribute.

Continue Reading

More on those “Psychological Science” papers (menstrual cycles and political attitudes, biceps size and political attitudes)

I was thinking some more about those two recent studies (see here and here) published in Psychological Science, “the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology.”

Just to relive these for a moment, the papers are:

“The Ancestral Logic of Politics: Upper-Body Strength Regulates Men’s Assertion of Self-Interest Over Economic Redistribution”: 3 surveys, two of which were of college students, no actual direct measures of upper-body strength, regulation, assertion, or self-interest.

“The Fluctuating Female Vote: Politics, Religion, and the Ovulatory Cycle”: claims of implausibly huge within-person effects, no within-person measurements at all.

I’m pretty sure that neither of these papers would’ve had a chance of being accepted in the APSR or AJPS, the two leading journals in our field. I have no idea how far down you’d have to go to get such a paper published in a political science journal.

Just to be clear: I have no problem with such papers being published in a repository such as Plos-One (as was done by this later-debunked paper by some political scientists). Plos-One is a great place to put some shaky empirical work paired with speculative conclusions. You get it out there, make your data public, and other people can take a look. It’s in Plos-One, so savvy journalists know it’s speculation. Win-win.

If this stuff is being published in the top journal in your field, though, we’re in trouble.

I certainly don’t think political science is perfect, but the field seems to be pretty good at reserving space in the top journals for serious work. I’d say that maybe we need a journal for speculations, but (a) maybe such journals already exists, and (b) there’s always Plos-One, which seems to have the potential for playing a useful role as a sort of super-Arxiv across all disciplines.

The thing that bothers me about these various mini-papers that get so much attention is that they’re hyped beyond all recognition. Check out this official press release from the Association for Psychological Science (which, recall, split off several years ago from the American Psychological Association because they felt the ASA was not focused enough on scientific research):

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 7.15.00 AM

Of course we can’t criticize the APS from running a press release, given that the paper was accepted in their journal. But the press release itself is a mix of caveman speculation and a misleading description of the research. It’s misleading to speak of “wealthy men” when two of the surveys were of college students). It’s also misleading to make statements about how “individuals reason” based on a few survey questions about issue attitudes; that one is particularly embarrassing coming from psychologists (indeed, the keywords in the press release include “Cognitive Processes” and “Judgment,” even though there’s nothing in the data about cognitive processes or judgment). There’s also the crude and politically naive association of an attitude on redistribution with “self-interest.” Suppose young man comes from a family with low socioeconomic status with conservative economic views (actually, I don’t know how many low-SES students or people with conservative economic views they will get in their sample of University of California students, but that’s another story), then he might well view it to be not in his self-interest to support economic redistribution.

These authors are psychologists, there’s no reason for them to know much about political science, any more than I should be expected to know much about macroeconomics (despite its relevance to some of my research), but this still seems pretty bad to me. At least I’d hope they’d show some humility about the subtleties of politics, in the way that John Jost and Jon Haidt do from their quite different perspectives in their studies of political attitudes.

There’s also a political angle, in that these sorts of studies often seem to be used to support a wife-in-the-kitchen agenda. Blogger Echidne gives a hilariously-horrible example from Fox News:

Erick Erickson, one of Fox’s newest contributors, was troubled by female breadwinners and claimed that people who defend them are “anti-science.” Erickson told viewers:

When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it’s tearing us apart.

Remember that the topic is women who earn money for their families. So Erickson seems to be arguing that no female animal goes out to get food ever, that it’s the male lions which feed the pride and so on, and that the female wolves never go out to hunt.

That is all total rubbish. In fact, I can’t think of any mammal where the female stays in the nest or lair with the young and the male goes out and brings all the food home. If that happens, at least among mammals, it is extremely rare. My suspicion is that single mothers are much more common among mammals than that alternative fable. Indeed, chimpanzees seem to have the single mother system.

What these four men are upset about is the fear that the traditional gender roles are breaking down. They like those gender roles because they like to be dominant.

But in most ways the traditional gender roles aren’t even that traditional, because very few people in the olden days could live like the Victorian images of a bourgeois nuclear family. Farm-wives worked, wives of artisans worked and so on.

Contrary to stereotype, in this case it’s the man who is babbling and the feminist who has the common sense.

Ok, this happens in both directions. Not so much in evolutionary psychology, I think, but there is a left-wing equivalent, of sorts, in various cross-national comparisons that get published in journals of public health. The basic idea is that good things tend to go together. There are some countries that are richer, more civilized, have nicer governments that spend more money on social welfare, have happier and more educated citizens, etc.; and other countries that are poor, dangerous, etc etc. As a result it’s not hard to show a correlation between, for example, social security spending and longevity, or whatever.

As with the evolutionary psychology studies, I’m not saying that these claims made in these cross-national correlation studies are wrong, merely that the evidence has problems and the claims can be overstated. And they get published in top journals because they are important. Actually, I’m not so bothered by these studies because the topics are important (more so, in my opinion, than claims about ovulation and voting). Similarly, I’m not so bothered by observational studies of the macroeconomy such as Reinhardt and Rogoff’s (implementation details aside); when a topic is important, you go with what you have, you can’t wait for identification.

Continue Reading

Rep. Lamar Smith Shows Us How to Make Scientific Research Relevant

Maybe you haven’t heard of the James Webb Space TelescopeNASA says that it “will address several key questions to help us unravel the story of the formation of structures in the Universe such as: When and how did reionization occur? What sources caused reionization? What are the first galaxies?”  NASA also says that the telescope’s “superior imaging and spectroscopy capabilities will allow us to study stars as they are forming in their dusty cocoons.”  And NASA says that the telescope will “make ultra-deep near-infrared surveys of the Universe, and follow up with low-resolution spectroscopy and mid-infrared photometry (the measurement of the intensity of an astronomical object’s electromagnetic radiation).”

That’s sounds cool and all, nerds, but scientific research is about two things: making us rich and making us safe.  Wait, what’s that, noted skeptic of federally funded scientific research Rep. Lamar Smith?  The James Webb Space Telescope will do that?  Let’s go to his press release.

Washington, Mar 14 -

AUSTIN – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) toured the James Webb Space Telescope display at SXSW last week. The full-scale model was on display as part of SXSW interactive. The James Webb Space Telescope is the next generation of space telescopes. It is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and is currently scheduled for launch in 2018. The James Webb Space Telescope will be able to observe in the infrared, thus farther into space, examining much older stars and galaxies than its predecessors. Photos from the tour  are available here.

Chairman Smith: “As the world leader in space exploration, America has made great progress for mankind. But our work is not done. We should continue to study, research, and explore space to better understand our universe and better protect our planet. The James Webb Space Telescope is a great example of where our nation can go in the future by maintaining our leadership in the realm of space innovation and exploration—to galaxies far beyond.”

Space has been a major story in the national news following the asteroid and meteor events of last month. Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed just 17,000 miles from Earth, less than the distance of a round trip from New York to Sydney. Thanks to the discoveries NASA has made in its short history, we knew about 2012 DA14 for about a year.  But the meteor that struck Russia last month was estimated to be 17 meters, and wasn’t tracked at all.  The Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on March 19 to examine ways to better identify and address asteroids, meteors and other near Earth objects that pose a potential threat to our planet.

Bingo! Forget reionization and spectroscopy.  That telescope is going to do what heretofore only Bruce Willis himself could do: save us from DEADLY SPACE ROCKS.  That’s not just national security.  That is planetary security.  Throw another billion at that telescope!

But, Rep. Smith, the economic impact still seems a little less clear—except, wait, the telescope will be assembled where?  And what state is Smith from?  Bingo again!

Making science relevant is easy.

P.S. Wait, Rep. Smith!  Don’t get wobbly because of some egghead GAO report.  Space rocks are coming!

[Hat tip to Monkey Cage reader J.M.]

Continue Reading

Remarks on Science Funding by John Holdren

John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, spoke today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  His full comments are here, via Rick Wilson.  (I cannot find a link to these comments yet.)  An encouraging excerpt:

I want to make a further point about the kinds of research that the Federal government is and should be funding.  Members of Congress have recently suggested, variously, either that the social sciences are not really science and should not be supported by the tax-payers at all;  or that research in political science, at least, should only be supported if the NSF will certify to Congress, for each grant, that the research will advance either the economy or national security (a provision now actually embodied in law in the most recent Continuing Resolution governing spending for the remainder of FY13); or that all taxpayer-funded research should have to pass the test of offering a predictable benefit for some national interest.

Let me therefore be clear about the position of this Administration, as President Obama was in his remarks on Monday at the 150th anniversary meeting of the National Academy of Science.

First, the social and behavioral sciences—which of course include economics, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, as well as political science—are sciences. Researchers in these fields develop and test hypotheses; they publish results in peer-reviewed journals; and they archive data for so that others can replicate their results.

Second, while much of the work in these sciences meets the definition of basic research – expanding our understanding of ourselves and our surroundings – much work in the social and behavioral sciences is aimed at having (or ends up having without being aimed that way) practical application to society’s direct benefit.

Political science research helps us understand the motives and actions of nations and peoples around the world, strengthening our foreign policy, and it helps understand our own democracy and how to make it stronger. Economics research has clarified not only the economic importance of innovation but also its determinants, which in turn have helped us craft policies that effectively promote innovation and thus economic growth.

Social and behavioral research has helped us make hurricane warnings more effective, improve methods of instruction and training in school and in the workplace, and manage commons resources efficiently without centralized regulation.  And it has taught us that social-distancing strategies, like staying home from work or school, can be a crucial complement to vaccination strategies when it comes to breaking the transmission of influenza from person to person.

Third, whether we are talking about research in the social and behavioral sciences, or in the natural sciences, it makes no sense at all to confine taxpayer support to those projects for which a likely direct contribution to the national interest can be identified in advance.  (Unless, of course, the national interest is defined to include expanding the boundaries of knowledge, which would be fine with me but is not, I think, what members of Congress proposing the criterion have in mind.)

Imposing such a national-interest criterion in the form its sponsors seem to have in mind would throw out the basic-research baby with the bathwater, inasmuch as basic research constitutes precisely that subset of research activity that is aimed at expanding knowledge without reference to possible applications.

Continue Reading