This project aims to create a targeted information and advisory infrastructure for actors from politics, administration and other areas of society, by establishing a repository that exclusively contains publications of policy and societal advice from the entire German science system. The HBI supports the development through accompanying scientific research on the processes involved with the production and use of science policy documents.
Science-led policy advice has gained enormously in importance in recent years and has continually become more diverse. Political decisions are increasingly based on empirical research results and expert opinions. However, searching for advisory documents can be tedious and time-consuming, as they are scattered on various websites and often cannot be searched for specifically. For this reason, the "Repository for Policy Documents" (REPOD) is now being launched supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
With REPOD, a digital repository is being established that makes advisory documents searchable across disciplines in a targeted manner and which ensures uniform quality assurance. The goal is to create an information and advisory infrastructure by the end of 2023 that will make the transfer of knowledge from research to politics and society much easier.
Led by the ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, the research consortium consists of scientists from the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans Bredow Institute (HBI), the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS), and the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, The Leibniz Association is involved as an associated partner.
Processes of Producing and Using Documents for Policy and Societal Advice
The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) takes over part of the scientific accompanying research in REPOD. In close cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for Research on Space and Society (IRS), the processes for the production and use of scientific advisory documents are being researched. These processes involve a heterogeneous group of actors from science, politics, administration, media, and civil society. While the HBI examines the perspectives of the producers, the IRS focuses on the users of such advisory documents.
To gain practical insights into the identification of topics, the selection and translation of knowledge, and the dissemination and evaluation of advisory documents, the HBI uses qualitative methods such as ethnographic observations, retrospective interviews and content analyses. In this way, a multitude of actors, their practices and goal orientations are captured in the different steps involved in the production of scientific advisory documents. To map the entire processes of action and communication around such documents, these findings are mirrored by the results of the user perspective analysed by the IRS. Concrete suggestions for the development of scientific advisory documents and the design of the repository, such as matchmaking, search, and mapping functions as well as reputation mechanisms, are derived from the identified practices, challenges and opportunities (cf. Berr et al. 2022).
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How Can Policy Papers Be Found?
Scientific advice to politics and society has steadily gained in importance in Germany. More and more non-university research institutions, universities, colleges, academies, etc. see science-based advice to politics and society as their task. The field is dominated by policy papers, expert reports, and studies that are oriented towards a social problem, present and contextualize the state of scientific knowledge in a generally understandable language and point out options for action.
The central problem addressed by the project "Repository for Policy Documents (REPOD)" is the ability to find and access these documents. By setting up a repository that exclusively comprises publications of scientific policy and societal advice from the entire German science system, a targeted information and advice infrastructure is created for actors from politics, administration, and other areas of society.
Existing data and literature resources will be made accessible, searchable, and findable across disciplines (work package 1). For this purpose, a cloud-based information infrastructure will be established (work package 2). The accompanying scientific research (work package 3) uses stakeholder workshops and interviews with scientific actors from various disciplines as well as actors from politics, administration, the media and social institutions to develop approaches to quality assurance and criteria for the use of scientific advisory documents as well as the repository (work package 3.1). The HBI will use qualitative methods to gain insights into the challenges and needs of the actors involved in the process from the creation to the use of the advisory document as an important instrument of scientific policy advice (work package 3.2). This is accompanied by interactive exchange formats as well as marketing and communication campaigns (work package 4).