Friday, November 17, 2017

Working Papers of the Week: 11/17/2017

By Jessica McCann

Welcome to Working Papers of the Week! In this series, we'll be highlighting the research Kennedy School faculty members are doing here and abroad by featuring new working papers recently uploaded to our Faculty Papers and Publications collection.

This week, the following working papers were posted:

Simultaneous Pursuit of Discovery and Invention in the US Department of Energy
Goldstein, Anna P., and Venkatesh Narayanamurti

The division of “basic” and “applied” research is embedded in federal R&D policy, exemplified by the separation of science and technology in the organizational structure of the US Department of Energy (DOE). In this work, we consider a branch of DOE that shows potential to operate across this boundary: the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). We construct a novel dataset of nearly 4,000 extramural financial awards given by DOE from 2010 to 2015, primarily to businesses and universities. We collect the early knowledge outputs of these awards from Web of Science and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Compared to similar awards from other parts of DOE, ARPA-E awards are more likely to jointly produce both a publication and a patent, with at least 5 times higher odds. ARPA-E awards have been productive in creating new technology, without a detrimental effect on the production of new scientific knowledge. This observation suggests the unity of research activities which are often considered separate: that which produces discoveries and that which produces inventions.

Click here for the full paper.


Recursive Representation in the Representative System
Mansbridge, Jane

In recursive representation both representatives and constituents take in what the other is saying, update, revise, and respond on the basis of their own experience, then listen to the others’ response to their responses and respond to that accordingly. Recursive representation should replace or at least supplement the traditional norm of “two-way communication” as a component of the larger ideal of good political representation across the representative system. The ideal is aspirational (“regulative”) and may in many actual instances have prohibitive costs, but it can serve as a standard toward which to aspire. Currently the most active and affluent donors in democracies have access to recursive representation even at the national scale, as do some constituents at local levels. Even on the scale of a large nation-state, some currently available mechanisms make it feasible to approach this ideal more fully with average and even relatively marginal constituents. Recursive representation serves as an aspirational ideal in the arenas of administrative and societal representation as well as the arena of legislative/electoral representation.

Click here for the full paper.


Can Public Reporting Cure Healthcare? The Role of Quality Transparency in Improving Patient-Provider Alignment
Saghafian, Soroush, and Wallace J. Hopp

Increasing quality transparency is widely regarded as a strong mechanism for improving the alignment between patient choices and provider capabilities, and thus, is widely pursued by policymakers as an option for improving the healthcare system. We study the effect of increasing quality transparency on patient choices, hospital investments, societal outcomes (e.g., patients’ social welfare and inequality), and the healthcare market structure (e.g., medical or geographical specialization). We also examine potential reasons behind the failure of previous public reporting efforts, and use our analysis to identify ways in which such efforts can become more effective in the future. Our analytical and numerical results calibrated with data reveal that increasing quality transparency promotes increased medical specialization, decreased geographical specialization, and induces hospitals to invest in their strength rather than their weakness. Furthermore, increasing quality transparency in the short-term typically improves the social welfare as well as the inequality among patients. In the long-term, however, we find that increasing transparency can decrease social welfare, and even a fully transparent system may not yield socially optimal outcomes. Hence, a policymaker concerned with societal outcomes needs to accompany increasing quality transparency with other policies that correct the allocation of patients to hospitals. Among such policies, we find that policies that incentivize hospitals are usually more effective than policies that incentivize patients. Finally, our results indicate that, to achieve maximal benefits from increasing quality transparency, policymakers should target younger, more affluent, or urban (i.e., high hospital density area) patients, or those with diseases that can be deferred.

Click here for the full paper.

To see other recent faculty research, check out the full publications collection or follow @HKS_Research on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Continuing Steps to Ensuring Credibility of NIH Research: Selecting Journals with Credible Practices

National Institutes of Health Open Mike Blog
Mike Lauer
November 8, 2017

The scientific community is paying increasing attention to the quality practices of journals and publishers. NIH recently released a Guide notice (NOT-OD-18-011) to encourage authors to publish in journals that do not undermine the credibility, impact, and accuracy of their research findings. This notice aims to raise awareness about practices like changing publication fees without notice, lacking transparency in publication procedures, misrepresenting editorial boards, and/or using suspicious peer review.
This may not be a big problem for NIH-funded publications now; our colleagues Jennifer Marill, Kathryn Funk, and Jerry Sheehan from the National Library of Medicine note that more than 90% of the 815,000 publicly available journal articles reporting on NIH-funded research are published in MEDLINE indexed journals. Nonetheless, we do know that a problem exists – there are articles reporting NIH-funded research appearing in journals that engage in questionable practices. Ensuring the credibility of NIH funded research is important to maintaining public trust in research.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Statement on Article Publication Resulting from NIH Funded Research

National Institutes of Health
Notice NOT-OD-18-011
November 3, 2017

Purpose: To protect the credibility of published research, authors are encouraged to publish papers arising from NIH-funded research in reputable journals. 
Background: Effective communication of scientific results is an essential part of the scientific process. In support of public access to National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research, authors are encouraged to publish their results in reputable journals. The NIH has noted an increase in the numbers of papers reported as products of NIH funding which are published in journals or by publishers that do not follow best practices promoted by professional scholarly publishing organizations. These journals and publishers typically can be identified by several attributes, including: 

  • misleading pricing (e.g., lack of transparency about article processing charges);
  • failure to disclose information to authors;
  • aggressive tactics to solicit article submissions;
  • inaccurate statements about editorial board membership; and
  • misleading or suspicious peer-review processes.

Publications using such practices may call into question the credibility of the research they report. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

NSF Announces $19.5M in Awards to Support Fundamental Research to Advance the Nation's Local Cities and Communities

National Science Foundation 
News Release 17-102
October 12, 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has long been a leader in supporting fundamental research to equip U.S. cities and communities with more responsive and adaptive technologies and services. Today, NSF's Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC) program announces its first round of awards totaling approximately $19.5 million. This funding will support 38 projects involving researchers at 34 institutions across the nation.
Smart and connected communities successfully integrate people with information and communication technologies to improve economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and overall quality of life. Successfully achieving this vision requires advanced understanding of the physical, social and technical aspects of our local cities and communities.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Revolt at a Journal Puts Peer Review Under the Microscope

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Vimal Patel
September 25, 2017

Even longtime admirers of Shahid Qadir were puzzled.
Mr. Qadir, editor of Third World Quarterly, a journal about international studies, this month published a paper provocatively titled "The Case for Colonialism." The abstract sets the tone for the piece: "For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Elsevier Embraces Data-Sharing Standards, in Step Toward Scientific Openness

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
September 5, 2017

The cause of scientific transparency and accuracy got a boost on Tuesday with the decision by the publishing giant Elsevier to endorse a broad set of standards for open articles and data.

Elsevier agreed to add its 1,800 journals to the 3,200 that already accept the "Transparency and Openness Promotion" guidelines drafted in 2015 by a group of university researchers, funders and publishers.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Elsevier Is Becoming a Data Company. Should Universities Be Wary?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
August 15, 2017

Like many big research institutions, the University of Florida pays the publishing giant Elsevier millions of dollars a year so its scientists can read the articles they helped create.

Payments like that have made Elsevier an industry monolith; they have also made the company a popular target of faculty protests and boycotts.
At an institutional level, "there’s not a lot of leverage" to hold down prices, concedes Florida’s library dean, Judith C. Russell. That’s because Elsevier publishes many influential titles that faculty also prize as markers of reputational success, she said.