The relationship between policy and science leaves much to be desired. Policy decisions don’t always reflect the best scientific evidence available for a variety of reasons. An updated systematic review was published that explored these barriers in an effort to understand the greatest obstacles in integrating science and policy.
According to the systematic review that looked at 145 new studies and other systematic reviews, the most frequently reported barriers were “poor access to good quality relevant research, and a lack of timely research output.” These barriers are understandable considering journal pay walls and the inevitable lag time in academic publishing. The study found that the most successful uses of evidence came from personal relationships between researchers and policymakers.
Creating an atmosphere of collaboration and open exchange between scientific and policy environments could facilitate a great expansion of the use of evidence in policy decisions by eliminating the need for policymakers to access and read long, difficult reports. Collaboration has it’s own challenges though, especially the lack of transparency in the policy making or implementation process.