Science as a Public Good: Public Use and Funding of Science

05/01/2021 ∙ by Yian Yin, et al. ∙ 0

Knowledge of how science is consumed in public domains is essential for a deeper understanding of the role of science in human society. While science is heavily supported by public funding, common depictions suggest that scientific research remains an isolated or 'ivory tower' activity, with weak connectivity to public use, little relationship between the quality of research and its public use, and little correspondence between the funding of science and its public use. This paper introduces a measurement framework to examine public good features of science, allowing us to study public uses of science, the public funding of science, and how use and funding relate. Specifically, we integrate five large-scale datasets that link scientific publications from all scientific fields to their upstream funding support and downstream public uses across three public domains - government documents, the news media, and marketplace invention. We find that the public uses of science are extremely diverse, with different public domains drawing distinctively across scientific fields. Yet amidst these differences, we find key forms of alignment in the interface between science and society. First, despite concerns that the public does not engage high-quality science, we find universal alignment, in each scientific field and public domain, between what the public consumes and what is highly impactful within science. Second, despite myriad factors underpinning the public funding of science, the resulting allocation across fields presents a striking alignment with the field's collective public use. Overall, public uses of science present a rich landscape of specialized consumption, yet collectively science and society interface with remarkable, quantifiable alignment between scientific use, public use, and funding.

READ FULL TEXT
POST COMMENT

Comments

There are no comments yet.

Authors

page 2

page 3

page 4

page 8

page 12

page 18

page 19

page 37

This week in AI

Get the week's most popular data science and artificial intelligence research sent straight to your inbox every Saturday.