Policy ForumResearch Funding

Science Funding and Short-Term Economic Activity

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Science  04 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6179, pp. 41-43
DOI: 10.1126/science.1250055

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There is considerable interest among policy-makers in documenting short-term effects of science funding. A multiyear scientific journey that leads to long-term fruits of research, such as a moon landing, is more tangible if there is visible nearer-term activity, such as the presence of astronauts. Yet systematic data on such activities have not heretofore existed. The only source of information for describing the production of most science is surveys that have been called “a rough estimate, frequently based on unexamined assumptions that originated years earlier” (1).