Open Science: The Citizen’s Role in and Contribution to Research

Open Science: The Citizen’s Role in and Contribution to Research. RAND Corporation. Anna Knack. October 11, 2017.

The report synthesises the results of an expert consultation on ‘citizen science,’ which refers to the range of contributions citizens make to scientific research. It investigates definitions of citizen science and dissects the benefits and challenges that citizen science poses across the spectrum of stakeholders involved in citizen science activity. The report then illustrates the results of a future vision-building exercise and explores the critical role that digital technology plays in enabling participants’ future vision of citizen science and addressing the various challenges. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages, 319.11 KB].

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Civil Society at a Crossroads: Exploring Sustainable Operating Models

Civil Society at a Crossroads: Exploring Sustainable Operating Models. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Shannon N. Green. October 12, 2017

Around the world, civil society is at a crossroads. Buffeted on one side by questions about their relevance, legitimacy, and accountability from governments and their beneficiaries, civil society organizations (CSOs) face pressure to demonstrate their value to and connection with local communities. On the other side, civil society is having to adjust to a rapidly deteriorating legal and operational environment, as countless governments pursue regulatory, administrative, and extra-legal strategies to impede their work. Nonstate actors also pose a threat to the sector, attacking human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, environmentalists, and labor unionists in unprecedented numbers. Simultaneously, CSOs are encountering major disruptions to their revenue streams because of changing donor priorities and government restrictions on foreign funding, and to their business model from emerging forms of civic activism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 1.46 MB].

Modernizing U.S. Labor Standards for 21st-century Families

Modernizing U.S. Labor Standards for 21st-century Families. Brookings Institution. Heather Boushey and Bridget Ansel. October 19, 2017

Women now make up almost half the U.S. workforce. Despite the central role women play in the U.S. economy, labor laws and institutions do little to address the various ways in which women are held back at work. This not only hampers women’s economic well-being, but also has implications for U.S. productivity, labor force participation, and economic growth. In this paper, the authors propose policies aimed at boosting women’s economic outcomes: paid family leave, fair scheduling, and combatting wage discrimination. They show how enacting carefully designed policies in these categories will better address the challenges of today’s labor force, enhance women’s economic outcomes, and provide benefits for the national economy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 1.67 MB].

Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe

Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe. Migration Policy Institute. Susan Fratzke. September 2017.

This policy brief explores the broad spectrum of approaches to refugee settlement that include elements of community-based or private sponsorship—from the large and well-established Canadian program to smaller-scale and ad hoc initiatives in Europe. While these approaches vary widely in scope and the types of responsibilities sponsors take on, the author finds that governments and their civil-society partners generally face three common challenges when implementing them: balancing thorough program design with pressure to act quickly, providing government oversight and support without displacing willing community leaders, and cultivating strong working relationships between all parties involved. When done well, however, such programs hold the potential to foster important relationships between refugees and their neighbors and to improve integration outcomes in the long run. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 962.49 KB].

Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions Under the Higher Education Act

Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions Under the Higher Education Act. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Alexandra Hegji. September 12, 2017

Minority-serving institutions (MSIs) are institutions of higher education that serve high concentrations of minority students who, historically, have been underrepresented in higher education. Many MSIs have faced challenges in securing adequate financial support, thus affecting their ability to develop and enhance their academic offerings and ultimately serve their students. Federal higher education policy recognizes the importance of such institutions and targets financial resources to them. Funding for MSIs is channeled through numerous federal agencies, and several of these funding sources are available to MSIs through grant programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA; P.L. 89-329). Over the years, HEA programs that support MSIs have expanded and now include programs for institutions serving a wide variety of student populations. In FY2016, MSI programs under the HEA were appropriated approximately $817 million, which helped fund more than 929 grants to institutions.

[PDF format, 52 pages, 954.26 KB].

Digital Currency and the Future of Transacting

Digital Currency and the Future of Transacting. RAND Corporation. Katherine Stewart, Salil Gunashekar, Catriona Manville. August 30, 2017.

As digital technology creates new and different ways to transact we have witnessed the emergence of new forms of currency and transaction platforms to support different methods and types of value exchange. New methods of transaction could have wider economic and social implications with regard to the extent of government control over the economy; the structure of traditional models of tax, social security and pensions; and the role of individuals and communities in the wider financial system. Because the landscape of innovations in this sphere is broad and fast moving, thought should be given to the potential impact of these changes on wider society, and how they could be harnessed by government, communities and individuals for societal good. This perspective explores how digital platforms are changing the ways we transact and exchange value and the associated societal impact. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 171.86 KB].

Later School Start Times in the U.S.: An Economic Analysis

Later School Start Times in the U.S.: An Economic Analysis. RAND Corporation. Marco Hafner, Martin Stepanek, Wendy M. Troxel. August 30, 2017.

Numerous studies have shown that later school start times are associated with positive student outcomes, including improvements in academic performance, mental and physical health, and public safety. While the benefits are well-documented in the literature, there is opposition against delaying school times across the U.S. A major argument is the claim that delaying school start times will result in significant additional costs due to changes in transportation, such as rescheduling bus routes. This study investigates the economic implications of later school start times by examining a policy experiment and its subsequent state-wide economic effects of a state-wide universal shift in school start times to 8:30 a.m.

Using a novel macroeconomic modelling approach, the study estimates changes in the economic performance of 47 U.S. states following a delayed school start time, which includes the benefits of higher academic performance of students and reduced car crash rates. The benefit-cost projections of this study suggest that delaying school start times is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy. From a policy perspective, the study’s findings demonstrate the significant economic gains resulting from the delay in school start times over a relatively short period of time following the adoption of the policy change. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 57 pages, 1.07 MB].