Blog Archives

CJRA and COSSA to Host “Ask a Criminologist” Panel on How the Opioid Epidemic and Police-Community Relations Impact Homicides

COSSA and the Crime & Justice Research Alliance (CJRA) (a collaborative effort of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology, both COSSA members) will host the third in a series of “Ask a Criminologist” Congressional briefings on Tuesday, May 22. This interactive briefing will explore key factors, including the opioid epidemic, that led to an increase in homicide rates in communities across the United States in 2015 and 2016 and share how criminologists have been using research and statistics to help policymakers identify and address these causes. The discussion will be moderated by CJRA Past Chair Dr. Nancy La Vigne of the Urban Institute, and featured speakers will include Dr. Howard Spivak, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice; Richard Biehl, Chief of Police for the City of Dayton, Ohio; and Dr. Shytierra Gaston, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University.  More information and a link to RSVP can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 15), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Recap of the 2018 COSSA Science Policy Conference

COSSA held its 2018 Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day on April 30-May 1 in Washington, DC. The conference and advocacy day brought together COSSA members and other stakeholders for a day of discussion about federal policy impacting our science followed by the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences.

Plenary panels included “Post Truth: Communicating Facts, Not Fiction,” featuring feature William K. Hallman, Rutgers University; Cary Funk, Pew Research Center; and Melanie Green, University at Buffalo; “Me Too, Sexual Harassment in Science and the Academy,” featuring Elizabeth Armstrong, University of Michigan; Rhonda Davis, National Science Foundation; and Shirley Malcom, American Association for the Advancement of Science; and “Reestablishing Trust in Social Science & Data,” featuring feature Rush Holt, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan; and Brian Nosek, Center for Open Science. The 2018 meeting also featured topical breakout sessions on the theme “Why Social Science?” that covered National Security, the Opioid Epidemic, Natural Disasters, and Criminal Justice. Click here for COSSA’s summaries of the Conference sessions.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Social Science Advocates Take to Capitol Hill

On May 1, 70 social and behavioral science researchers, stakeholders, and advocates met with their Members of Congress and staff to advocate in support of funding for federal agencies and programs that support social and behavioral science research. Advocates from 20 states converged on Capitol Hill, completing 79 individual meetings.  Materials used to help articulate the value of social science research are available on the COSSA website, including fact sheets on COSSA’s FY 2019 funding requests. For more resources, and to participate in social science advocacy from home, visit COSSA’s Take Action page.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Submits Testimony in Support of Science Funding

On April 26, COSSA submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and International Education and Foreign Language Programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays).

The following day COSSA submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for FY 2019. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau. You can read this and other statements on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Less Than Two Weeks Until COSSA’s Science Policy Conference and Advocacy Day

There are less than two weeks left until the COSSA 2018 Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day on April 30 and May 1. Register today to ensure you don’t miss the keynote address delivered by Barnard College President Sian Beilock, plenary panels on communicating and reestablishing trust in social science, and breakout sessions on using social and behavioral science research to address timely policy issues. Click here to see the full lineup of sessions and speakers and check the COSSA website for the most up-to-date information on the conference. Remember: COSSA members and students are eligible for discounts on registration. Email jmilton@cossa.org for details.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 17), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Seeking Undergraduate Summer Interns

COSSA is accepting applications for its 2018 summer internship. The opportunity is open to undergraduate students who wish to learn about advocacy/lobbying, policy impacting social science, and/or non-profit organizations. Responsibilities include conducting research to assist COSSA staff with their lobbying activities and coverage of events, such as Congressional hearings, federal agency advisory committee meetings, community and coalition events, which may result in a written product, such as a newsletter article. More information is available in the internship description. Applications will be evaluated as they are received, so apply now!

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

2020 Census to Ask About Citizenship; COSSA Releases Statement and Action Alert

On March 26, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross directed the Census Bureau to include a question about respondents’ citizenship in the 2020 Decennial Census. The decision was made in response to a request by the Department of Justice to add the question in order to support its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, although it is unclear why current data is inadequate. Citizenship was last asked as part of the decennial census in 1950; since then it has been included on the census “long form,” which later became the American Community Survey (these differ from the decennial census in that they are sent to a sample of the U.S. population, not every household). In a memo outlining his decision, Ross stipulated that the question be asked last on the Census form. While the decision was reportedly made over the objections of the experts at the Census Bureau, the citizenship question was on the list of planned questions submitted to Congress on March 29.

The decision has raised concerns for those in the scientific community because the question was not part of the extensive research and testing the Census Bureau routinely conducts in the years leading up to a decennial census. The Bureau carefully evaluates all proposed changes to design and wording of the census to ensure that they do not affect the quality of the responses received. Asking about citizenship could alienate respondents in the immigrant community and potentially deter them from responding to the Census at all or answering inaccurately, resulting in an undercount of these populations and affecting the accuracy and integrity of the Census data. The Bureau is currently conducting the last major test of the 2020 Census operation, the 2018 End-to-End Test in Providence, RI, which is being administered without a citizenship question. Because the Bureau will not have been able to evaluate the impact of the question, we will not know how the question will affect responses until the 2020 Census is in the field. Given that the Census Bureau has a Constitutional obligation to count every member of the U.S. population, an increase in non-response would greatly increase the costs of the count, as more enumerators would need be sent to collect responses in person, at far greater expense than planned mail or internet outreach.

The decennial census is an irreplaceable source of data for researchers across the social sciences who use it to generate valuable findings about the U.S. population that can be used to inform evidence-based policies. In addition, information from the decennial census undergirds numerous other surveys and data sets at the Census Bureau and beyond, so a problem at the source would have far-reaching implications across the statistical system. COSSA strongly opposes the Department of Commerce’s decision and released a statement to that effect on March 27. In addition, COSSA issued an action alert to enable COSSA members to easily write to their Members of Congress and ask them to support legislation to remove the question. In addition, other COSSA members, including the American Statistical Association, Population Association of America, and the Social Science Research Council have released statements criticizing the decision.

At this stage, the only avenues to removing the question are legislation or a court ruling. Two bills (H.R. 5359 and S. 2580) have been introduced by Democrats in Congress that would bar the Census from asking about citizenship, but neither has bipartisan support, making passage unlikely. In addition, more than one law suit has been filed against the Administration, arguing that asking about citizenship is an attempt to depress the count of minority populations.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Science Policy Conference Program Taking Shape; Hotel Block Extended to April 6

More sessions and speakers have been announced for the COSSA 2018 Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day. The conference will feature a keynote address delivered by Sian Beilock, President of Barnard College, plenary panels on “Reestablishing Trust in Social Science & Data” and “Post Truth: Communicating Facts, Not Fiction” and topical breakout sessions on the theme “Why Social Science?” covering National Security, the Opioid Epidemic, Natural Disasters, and Criminal Justice. Check the preliminary agenda for the full lineup of presenters announced so far. Registration for the Conference is still open. Members and students are entitled to discounted registration—email jmilton@cossa.org for details. The conference hotel block deadline was extended until April 6, so this is your last chance to take advantage of our discounted rate. Use this link when booking or use the group code COSSAM to receive the block rate. Check our website for the latest on the Conference.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA to Present 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Rep. Dan Lipinski, NIH’s Bill Riley

COSSA has named U.S. Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and Dr. William (Bill) Riley, Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as the recipients of its 2018 Distinguished Service Award. The COSSA Distinguished Service Award recognizes leaders who have gone above and beyond to promote, protect, and advance the social and behavioral science research enterprise. Awardees are chosen by the COSSA Board of Directors, which represents COSSA’s governing member associations. The 2018 Distinguished Service Award will be officially presented at a reception on April 30, 2018 as part of COSSA’s 2018 Science Policy Conference. Read the press release here.

Lipinski, who serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Research and holds a Ph.D. in political science, has been a strong advocate for scientific research at all levels and across all fields of study. He has worked productively with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact legislation that strengthens the U.S. scientific enterprise and has helped raise the profile of the social and behavioral sciences.

A 13-year veteran of NIH, Riley has worked at Institutes and Centers across the agency, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), before his appointment to lead the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research in 2015. Throughout his career, he has worked tirelessly to amplify the importance of social and behavioral science across the NIH and in biomedical research more generally. As OBSSR Director, Riley has cultivated strong relationships between the Office and NIH stakeholders through open, ongoing engagement with the social and behavioral science community.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

The American Statistical Association Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis month’s Why Social Science? guest post comes from Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director of the American Statistical Association, who writes about how social scientists use federally collected data to provide the public with intelligence and insight to make smart decisions. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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