Wednesday, January 29, 2014

National Academies Press: A Feast for Policy Wonks

The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on an incredibly wide array of policy questions. And you know what's extra cool? They make a lot of their reports free! You just have to register to be able to download PDFs. (You can also buy them in print if you want.)

To highlight some of their timely and important reports, the National Academies Press posted The NAP Guide to the 2014 State of the Union Address. It has the text of President Obama's speech last night with inserts pointing out NAS reports. Just about anything the President talked about has at least one report: obesity, firearm violence, climate change, sustainable energy sources, education, the Affordable Care Act, and more.

As a Washingtonian, my eye was caught by Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future (2012)

book cover: Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington
And since I've spent my career at the University of Washington, I was curious about Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security (2012) 
Research Universities and the Future of America

And of course the National Academies have lots of reports on topics the President didn't address, too. You can browse categories—for example the Law and Justice subtopic under Behavioral and Social Sciences. They even list some titles that aren't yet available, like The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (2014). Are you interested in scientific evidence or forensics? I recommend Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence (2012).

Gallagher Law Library has some National Academies books in paper if you don't want to bother downloading a PDF and reading on screen (sometimes a printed book is just what you want!). E.g.,

If you ever tire of reading policy analysis, you can pop over to Gifts and Apparel and pick up a T-shirt of the Einstein sculpture that's on the National Academies grounds in Washington, DC.

photo of National Academies T-shirt with Einstein sculpture, "Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine"

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