The Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG): Engaging early career researchers in science policy

February 13, 2019 | 3:22 pm
Adriana Bankston & Shalin R. Jyotishi

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.

NSPN-JSPG competition announced at NSPN Symposium in New York City. Photo credit: JSPG

Some examples of our accomplishments include:

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:

  1. Connect the journal to international science diplomacy and policy debate
  2. Illustrate the impact of JSPG on the career trajectories of past editors
  3. 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.

Adriana Bankston is the Director of Communications & Outreach at the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. Adriana manages communication and public relations, social media and marketing efforts on behalf of the journal. Adriana’s personal mission is to improve the biomedical research enterprise by empowering ECRs to advocate for change. Adriana is a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at The Society for Neuroscience, and a Policy Activist at the non-profit Future of Research. Adriana obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University. Find her on Twitter at @AdrianaBankston.

Shalin R. Jyotishi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. His background intersects innovation policy and economic development. He has held positions at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the University of Michigan. He is a University Innovation Fellow of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, a member of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, and an editor of the Journal of Economic Development in Higher Education. Find him on Twitter at @ShalinJyotishi.

The UCS Science Network is an inclusive community of more than 25,000 scientists, engineers, economists, and other experts, focused on changing the world for the better. The views expressed in Science Network posts are those of the authors alone.