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Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy?

Overview of attention for article published in Health Research Policy and Systems, April 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • One of the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#1 of 905)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
3 news outlets
blogs
6 blogs
policy
1 policy source
twitter
529 tweeters
facebook
6 Facebook pages

Citations

dimensions_citation
91 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
438 Mendeley
citeulike
1 CiteULike
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Title
Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy?
Published in
Health Research Policy and Systems, April 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12961-017-0192-x
Pubmed ID
Authors

Paul Cairney, Kathryn Oliver

Abstract

There is extensive health and public health literature on the 'evidence-policy gap', exploring the frustrating experiences of scientists trying to secure a response to the problems and solutions they raise and identifying the need for better evidence to reduce policymaker uncertainty. We offer a new perspective by using policy theory to propose research with greater impact, identifying the need to use persuasion to reduce ambiguity, and to adapt to multi-level policymaking systems.We identify insights from secondary data, namely systematic reviews, critical analysis and policy theories relevant to evidence-based policymaking. The studies are drawn primarily from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We combine empirical and normative elements to identify the ways in which scientists can, do and could influence policy.We identify two important dilemmas, for scientists and researchers, that arise from our initial advice. First, effective actors combine evidence with manipulative emotional appeals to influence the policy agenda - should scientists do the same, or would the reputational costs outweigh the policy benefits? Second, when adapting to multi-level policymaking, should scientists prioritise 'evidence-based' policymaking above other factors? The latter includes governance principles such the 'co-production' of policy between local public bodies, interest groups and service users. This process may be based primarily on values and involve actors with no commitment to a hierarchy of evidence.We conclude that successful engagement in 'evidence-based policymaking' requires pragmatism, combining scientific evidence with governance principles, and persuasion to translate complex evidence into simple stories. To maximise the use of scientific evidence in health and public health policy, researchers should recognise the tendency of policymakers to base judgements on their beliefs, and shortcuts based on their emotions and familiarity with information; learn 'where the action is', and be prepared to engage in long-term strategies to be able to influence policy; and, in both cases, decide how far you are willing to go to persuade policymakers to act and secure a hierarchy of evidence underpinning policy. These are value-driven and political, not just 'evidence-based', choices.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 529 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 438 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 437 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 84 19%
Researcher 83 19%
Student > Master 64 15%
Other 34 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 30 7%
Other 88 20%
Unknown 55 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Social Sciences 140 32%
Medicine and Dentistry 76 17%
Nursing and Health Professions 31 7%
Environmental Science 17 4%
Psychology 12 3%
Other 72 16%
Unknown 90 21%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 399. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 July 2020.
All research outputs
#36,170
of 16,073,243 outputs
Outputs from Health Research Policy and Systems
#1
of 905 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#1,438
of 268,372 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Health Research Policy and Systems
#1
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 16,073,243 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 905 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 13.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 268,372 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them