Tracking the influence of grey literature in public policy contexts: The necessity and benefits of interdisciplinary research.

Citation:

MacDonald, B. H., De Santo, E. M., Quigley, K. Soomai, S. S., & Wells, P. G. (2013). Tracking the influence of grey literature in public policy contexts: The necessity and benefits of interdisciplinary research. The Grey Journal, 9(2), 61-68.

Abstract:

Scientific information (much of it published as grey literature) can play a pivotal role in the search for solutions to serious global environmental problems. This fact is receiving growing attention by a diversity of researchers. How information functions within the interface between science and policy is only weakly understood, in part because most studies have been conducted through single disciplinary lenses. Moreover, determining the life cycles of scientific information and developing an understanding of the use and influence of this information are not trivial tasks. We believe that an appreciable increase in understanding can be achieved through an interdisciplinary perspective and a comparative approach employing a suite of research methodologies to document information pathways. In our research particularly (see www.eiui.ca), we contend that interdisciplinary research, drawing on “information science and management,” “marine environmental science,” “marine policy development,” “fisheries science and management,” and “public policy,” can substantially increase understanding of the processes by which scientific information is incorporated into environmental policy decisions. This innovative, evolving interdisciplinary perspective enables addressing the question “what role and influence does grey literature have in marine environmental policy and decision-making processes” in an informative, holistic manner, which may be otherwise unfeasible. This paper shows that multidimensional thinking and analysis stimulated by an interdisciplinary perspective is essential for further understanding of the role of information at the science-policy interface in marine disciplines.