The politics of creating data

IRIS is a main USEPA database on toxicity. Here’s how difficult it is to add data to this database:

(1) a Federal Register announcement of EPA’s IRIS agenda and call for scientific information from the public on the selected substances, (2) a search of the current scientific literature, a Federal Register announcement that the literature search is available on the IRIS internet site, and a call to submit additional scientific information on the substance, (3) development of a draft Toxicological Review or other assessment document , (4) internal peer consultation, (5) internal Agency Review, (6) Science Consultation with other Federal agencies and White House offices, (7) external peer review and public comment, (8) final internal Agency Review, Interagency Science Discussion and ORD management approval, and (9) posting on the IRIS database.

It’s like peer-review crossed with double-secret probation.

Staff/Manager Alignment Scores

From the IBM Endowment for the Business of Government:

The “Staff/Manager Alignment” guide is new report produced by the Partnership for Public Service with support from the IBM Center. Managers play an important role in an organization; they implement policies from senior leadership and also carry concerns up the chain from staff to decision-makers. If managers and staff don’t see eye-to-eye on the key issues, then managers may be unable or unwilling to properly acknowledge and share staff concerns to leadership. Executives may be left unaware of what’s happening on the front lines, issuing policies that risk failure because they aren’t fully informed. Executives may also miss opportunities to improve the workplace, if they aren’t aware of challenges facing their staff.

But the point is to build scores for assessing opportunities for improvement:

The Staff/Manager Alignment Score helps decision-makers and action planners at a particular agency to determine whether staff and manager views wildly diverge compared to other agencies across government, or whether the workforce agrees on the agency’s strengths and challenges. A closer examination of the gaps between staff and manager views on each the questions that comprise the score can help decision-makers and action planners to identify and address potential hot-button issues for the workforce.

This is an interesting approach, although I’m not sure of the scores’ usefulness. Anyone out there have experience with the scores, how they’re constructed, or their value in practical settings?

Indiana SPEA Joins SSRN

We are pleased to announce the School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University-Bloomington has started an ERN Public Policy Centers Research Papers series within the Economics Research Network (ERN).

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The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) is a world leader in public affairs and the environmental sciences and is the largest school of public affairs in the United States. In the most recent “Best Graduate Schools” rankings by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranked second and was the nation’s highest-ranked graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. The School’s curriculum and research are distinguished by a vigorous interdisciplinary approach to education and problem-solving. SPEA will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2012. The SPEA working papers series eJournal contains works in progress from our faculty.

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