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The Honest Broker
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  • 3 b/w illus. 4 tables
  • Page extent: 198 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.466 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 174.95
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Research--Moral and ethical aspects
    • Research--Political aspects
    • Recherche--Aspect moral
    • Recherche--Aspect politique

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521873208)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published May 2007

In stock

$120.00 (P)

For scientists seeking to play a positive role in policy and politics and contribute to the sustainability of the scientific enterprise, scientists have choices in what role they play. This book is about understanding this choice. Rather than prescribing what course of action each scientist ought to take, the book aims to identify a range of options. Using examples from a range of scientific controversies, The Honest Broker challenges us all - scientists, politicians and citizens - to think carefully about how best science can contribute to policy-making and a healthy democracy.


List of figures; List of tables; Acknowledgements; 1. Four idealized roles of science in policy and politics; 2. The big picture, science and democracy; 3. Science and decision making; 4. Values; 5. Uncertainty; 6. How Science policy shapes science in policy and politics; 7. Preemption and the decision to go to war in Iraq; 8. When scientists politicize science; 9. Making sense of science in policy and politics; References; Index.


“Decision-making can be an important problem, both in everyday life and when science, politics and policy are involved. The Honest Broker broadens the options of decision-making by going beyond the traditional roles of the 'pure scientist' or the 'issue advocate'. Scientific knowledge can be integrated with stakeholder concerns if the policy context is taken into account in an adequate way. Based on extensive experience in the analysis of decision-making relating to scientific and technological issues, Roger Pielke Jr. goes a long way to be an honest broker himself: between science and democracy.”
Helga Nowotny, Vice-President of the European Research Council and Fellow, Wissenschaftszentrum Wien

"Pielke's framework provides a helpful starting point for investigating factors that complicate the science-society relationship. . . Pielke deftly shows how scientists selections among these options can affect outcomes... [T]he book's direct language and concrete examples convey the concepts to a wide audience. By categorizing different roles in the often vexed but necessary relations between scientists and their social world, Pielke clarifies choices not only for scientists but also for the diverse members of democratic society, for whom scientific perspectives are an essential component of better policy."
Science, Nathan Hultman, Georgetown University

"Happily, the book by Roger Pielke Jr. on the engagement of scientists in policy offers a pithy, insightful basis for discussing the contributions scientists can make to advising policy-makers...This is a clear, thought-provoking book that helps move us away from thinking of science as 'pure' and distinct from policy."
- Andrew A. Rosenburg, University of New Hampshire, Nature

"The Honest Broker is a must-read...An important should be read by everyone."
Robert T. Lackey, BioScience

“In effect, Pielke’s book is a primer that can be a valuable introduction to clarifying the wide roles scientists can and do play, and can be useful in explaining what lies behind some of the controversies so evident today…Piekle clearly has been through the wars of science policy issues and shows his experience and, by implication, his frustration with those scientists who advocate policies they argue are dictated by scientific facts, without recognizing (or admitting) that their views are a result of their commitment to certain policy outcomes. He demonstrates a solid grasp of science and policy interactions, a sophisticated knowledge of U.S. science policy and institutions, and can write and express important ideas clearly and convincingly. For those reasons, the book is a valuable addition to the science and policy scene.”
Eugene B. Skolnikoff, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Review of Policy Research

“...for anyone interested in a policy-oriented perspective on science advice, The Honest Broker offers an accessible and stimulating guide to improving the role of science advisors in politics and policymaking.”
Mark B. Brown, Minerva

“Pielke's discussion of climate change politics is excellent. He seizes on the central issue in climate change politics: that those opposed to action (based on value decisions) raise scientific uncertainty as a reason for delay or inaction. In response, scientists focus on reducing or eliminating uncertainty to undermine grounds for opposition to action rather than focusing on the merits of the argument, which is really a values-based decision irrespective of the science. The basic framework of the book and its discussion of the importance of considering values and uncertainty are strong. the numerous examples he offers are instructive. Anyone engaged in policy, even on the periphery, would benefit from this discussion.”
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Mark Shafer, Director of Climate Services at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey

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