The Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG) was established nearly ten years ago by a small cadre of students and science policy leaders who sought to create an open access, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed platform for early career researchers (ECRs) of all disciplines to publish well-developed policy assessments addressing the widest range of science, technology and innovation policy topics worldwide.
Today, JSPG is a non-profit organization that has produced 15 volumes addressing a myriad of policy topics including health, the environment, space, energy, technology, STEM education, and defense, as well as science communications and diplomacy. Publication in JSPG is, for many authors, their first experience writing on science policy issues in a format that is accessible to policy stakeholders. Even fewer authors have had the experience of publishing science policy pieces in a peer-reviewed format prior to this experience. JSPG volumes are published on an accelerated timeline (to keep fresh with current debate) and range from succinct op-eds to comprehensive policy assessments to rigorous technology assessments.
Our JSPG team has great fortune of working with an outstanding line-up of authors, as well as editorial board and staff comprised of ECRs and policy professionals, and finally a distinguished advisory board and a governing board of senior science policy thinkers and doers who share our belief that ECRs can and should hone their policy research and writing skills and engage in policy debates. We also do our best to honor JSPG leadership. Our most recent issue was dedicated to the late Homer A. Neal of University of Michigan, who served on JSPG’s advisory board until his passing in 2018, and was a long-time supporter of JSPG and the involvement of ECRs in policy.
More than a research journal: Maximizing impact through partnerships
What sets JSPG apart from other peer-reviewed publications is the outreach and engagement we undertake with our partners and collaborators, enabling us to reach more ECRs and achieve a greater depth of impact for published work.
Some examples of our accomplishments include:
- In 2013 UCS sponsored a special issue on healthy food policy to engage ECRs around issues relating to food insecurity, GMOs, and agriculture policy;
- In partnership with National Science Policy Network, last fall we announced an international policy memo competition for student science policy organizations, which will produce a special issue this summer;
- Partnering with ScienceDebate to engage students and young scholars around science-relevant election politics;
- Becoming one of the first organizational members of the Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition;
- Receiving support from leading academic research institutes including Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University and the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at the University of Minnesota;
- Expanding our operations with support from the Richard B. Lounsbery Foundation
UCS and JSPG: Engaging ECRs in science policy
Both JSPG and UCS seek to empower and encourage the meaningful inclusion of ECRs in science policy research, writing, and debate.
Young people comprise an important constituency in most countries, bring in fresh perspectives, and an infectious level of energy to their policy engagement. Whether ECRs seek to transition into policy-oriented careers or engage in policy in industry or academia, we believe they can play an important role in strengthening policy around the world.
At a time when political leaders are facing increasingly complex science and technology policy challenges, ranging from CRISPR to climate change, the need to equip the next generation of research professionals with policy engagement skills has grown. Despite this reality, few ECRs are encouraged to engage in policy during their academic training, and even fewer are offered training opportunities to sharpen their policy engagement skills.
JSPG’s mission and our own personal missions focused on addressing this challenge. In recognition of our long-standing partnership with UCS, we are very pleased to announce a 4-part blog series illustrating how JSPG has helped equip ECRs with science policy research and writing expertise. In these posts, we will explore the professional journey of current and past JSPG editors, authors, and staff, many of whom are also members of UCS Science Network.
This is the first post in the series. In the three subsequent blog posts, our team will:
- Connect the journal to international science diplomacy and policy debate
- Illustrate the impact of JSPG on the career trajectories of past editors
- Provide a perspective on how policy writing skills translate into science communication
We can’t do this alone. Let’s work together
JSPG is actively seeking partners and collaborators. Let’s team up. Please consider joining JSPG’s mailing list and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Together, we’ll strengthen the ability for ECR to substantively share their ideas on cutting edge science, technology, and innovation policy.