Support for fundamental, basic research has been an essential function of the federal government for decades. The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies invest in scientific research that has led to some of our country’s most important innovations. Support for basic research has the potential to change the way we live, create new knowledge, solve societal challenges, and help us to better understand our world. Still, some policy makers routinely dismiss projects as “wasteful” without attempting to fully understand their potential benefits to society or the progress of science. In a new monthly series, Setting the Record Straight on Wasteful Research, COSSA is providing an opportunity for researchers to set the record straight about the value and potential of their work, and confronting misconceptions about social science research funded by the federal government.
The first issue features Stephanie Tong (Wayne State University), whose National Science Foundation-funded study on how online dating platforms affect perception was ridiculed in Jeff Flake’s 2015 “The Farce Awakens” wastebook.