Science and policy: scientific expertise and individual participation in boundary management


Boundary theory has assumed that two distinct organizations—scientists and policy-makers—can interface with one another via an external boundary organization, yet boundary management contexts often call for different strategies where a neutral third party is not involved. Recent scholarship has highlighted alternative models for boundary organizations, including the emergence of boundary organizations within universities. Most of these studies have taken an organizational perspective, yet as universities increasingly fulfill the role of boundary organizations by direct engagement with policy-makers, we need a deeper understanding of the roles scientists should play within this context. This study highlights the need to understand context before designing and implementing boundary management strategies, and considers the complexities of direct engagement between scientists and policy-makers. We draw from a case study conducted in Maine to argue that there are contexts in which scientists need to manage and span the science–policy boundary. The complexities involved in preparing scientists to engage more thoroughly in policy activities and the challenges in garnering institutional support for advancing the participation of scientists in boundary-spanning activities are explored.

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Journal of Applied Communication Research


Taylor & Francis

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