DORA, a public declaration launched in 2013 with now over 23,000 signatories worldwide, aims to radically revise the current methods of research assessment. It speaks of an urgent need to improve the ways in which research is currently evaluated by moving beyond the monopoly of the Impact Factor to a more diverse and inclusive set of measures.
At Policy & Politics, we recognise this need very well. So many in our community tell us how their professional lives are dominated by the Impact Factors of journals: from winning funding awards, to getting jobs and promotions. Indeed, many of our authors tell us that’s their main driver for publishing with us. We want to be part of the journey to change this, recognising the value of taking a broader view of how we’re evaluating research quality. But we can’t do it single-handedly. So we stand alongside those in our community in seeking to diversify the ways in which research is evaluated.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a major social crisis, putting people out of work and unable to satisfy primary needs such as affording food. In response, Italy experimented with a programme of emergency food stamps funded by the national government and delivered by municipalities—a form of assistance never experimented with before in the country. Programme implementation followed the peaks of the pandemic waves; it started with the first lockdown in March 2020, was terminated in the summer when COVID-19 cases approached zero, but was restarted in late autumn when the pandemic struck back. The repetition of the programme over a short time and with the same budget offers a unique opportunity to investigate inter-crisis learning, i.e. if and how lessons from the first wave of implementation contributed to reforms in the second delivery. Did administrations learn from the first food stamp delivery and redesign the second round accordingly? These research questions underpin our recent article published in Policy & Politics entitled Policy Learning in a crisis: Lessons learned from the Italian Food Stamp Programme.
Over recent years and with a rising number of crises and complex policy issues, policymakers are increasingly engaging in systematic and continuous policy learning. These policy learning processes aim at reaching better understandings of policy issues and their contexts. One of the aims of this learning is to develop better ways of solving societal challenges (through forms of technical learning) or consolidating and cultivating political power (through political learning). In other words, policymakers face problems that are difficult to solve, so they seek out knowledge and information from different sources in order to learn how to effectively solve these problems.
With its longstanding tradition, policy learning research has illuminated several aspects, mainly focused on explaining how policy actors learn, what lessons they come out with, and the role that learning processes play in policymaking. During crises, policy learning can contribute to effective crisis responses. However, it can also cause confusion or induce policy failure.
Special issue blog series on Transformational Change through Public Policy.
Rosana Boullosa & Janaina Perez
People around the world seem eager for transformational change in our societies. But in which direction must these winds of change blow? This was perhaps the question that provoked us the most when we came across the call for articles for the themed issue on “Transformational Change through Public Policy”, proposed by the Policy & Politics editorial team. Our response has just been published in our article: The democratic transformation of public policy through community activism in Brazil.Continue reading →