Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Undesirable research...?

While browsing I found an interesting speech (oratie: Dutch download) that discusses the tensions that may arise when research for policy-makers does not provide the results that are desirable from a policy perspective. To resolve some of the problems that may arise, the author (Carl Koopmans) suggests that all research that has been commissioned by government, will be published actively on the web.

He provides (and illustrates) five arguments:

1-improved public discussions, deliberations and decision making due to the availablity of all information,

2-improved research, due to the scrutiny of the results by peer-researchers and the reputation effects of the publication,

3-citizens pay taxes for this research so they deserve to see the results of what has been paid for with their money,

4-improved confidence in government and elimination of the element of secrecy that now exists if government refuse to publish reports,

5-keeping it secret is impossible; one slip of the tongue/pen by the involved researchers/researched will lead to further questions about the nature of the research, its contents etc. And to the questions why the results are kept secret, which is the content of the reports etc..