shutting down research

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American Prospect's Abby Rapoport reminds us that "For more than 15 years, congressional Republicans have been trying to do away with federal funding for political-science research:"

Every time until now, political scientists successfully fought back. One reason they could: The pot designated for political science in the National Science Foundation (NSF) was a tiny percentage of overall research money--about $10 million out of a $7 billion budget. That's less than two-tenths of a percent.

Rapoport details the deal:

But tucked inside the 600-page continuing resolution the Senate passed on Wednesday afternoon--the measure that must pass to avoid a government shutdown--is an amendment from Republican Senator Tom Coburn, designed to cut off the vast majority of federal support for political-science research. The amendment prevents the National Science Foundation from funding its Political Science Program, "except for research projects that the Director of the National Science Foundation certifies as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States."

She also notes that "for decades, the Political Science Program has funded the National Election Study, a multimillion-dollar project run out of the University of Michigan

The data, freely available to anyone, provides the most comprehensive look at how American political opinion has changed over time on key issues. Through the study, we can track the evolution of partisan identification, public opinion, and a variety of other key issues over decades. The findings are used by journalists and campaigns, and they're used to train undergraduates and graduate students in research. If the study ceases, there will suddenly be no way to see long-term trends in the American electorate.

(At least, no way that's not tied to some profit-making scheme...) Rapoport also highlights Coburn's hypocrisy:

Coburn hasn't let his opposition to NSF's political-science grants stop him from relying on NSF-funded political-science research when the research bolsters his own positions. In one debate, he cited NSF-funded research to demonstrate the lack of congressional oversight of the Government Accountability Office.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 22, 2013 3:44 PM.

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