I was reading Stephen Wilcox's latest blog post (http://goo.gl/ul3If) and one line in particular, an aside from the article's main point, caught my attention:

Well, if we live by evidence (and I certainly do, since I’m not running for office), we have to decide: what counts as evidence, when the evidence is adequate, what conclusions follow from what evidence, and so on.

This tension between scientists and politicians has been a running theme, as if the two lived in different worlds. When I asked well-seasoned faculty at my school whether public policy should be considered in the redesign of work systems, they said that it's usually not in the picture because it is out of scope, or because they want to prepare students for what they can control.

Are scientists and academicians responsible for informing and affecting public policy? Should they be?

I asked two visiting professors this question today, each from either US coast, and both well into their careers. One, an accomplished economics professor, said, "you have to be clever about promoting your work." The other, a big-name industrial research engineer, said, "there is little grant money for that, so researchers avoid it." The latter professor, the engineer, has served on policy advising committees.
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