Scientific advice to governments

Submission status
Submission deadline

Scientific advice to governments has never been in greater demand; nor has it been more contested. From climate change to cyber-security, poverty to pandemics, food technologies to fracking, the questions being asked of scientists, engineers and other experts by policymakers, the media and the wider public continue to multiply and increase in complexity. At the same time, the authority and legitimacy of experts are under increasing scrutiny, particularly on controversial topics, such as climate change and genetically modified crops.

This thematic Collection brings together leading contributors – from across Europe and internationally – to the theory, practice and politics of scientific advice. It will build on the conclusions of a landmark conference in Auckland in August 2014, which led to the creation of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA).

Articles are invited that explore scientific advice from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including science and technology studies, science policy studies, political science, sociology and philosophy. Case studies and practitioner perspectives are also welcome.

Topics that the Collection hopes to cover include:

  • Institutional arrangements for scientific advice in national governments, European and international institutions;
  • Different modes of scientific advice: including deliberative and informal advice; advice in crises and emergencies; foresight and horizon scanning;
  • The relationship between scientific advice and wider approaches to evidence-informed policymaking;
  • The qualities, skills and capabilities of scientific advisors and policy commissioners and ‘customers’ of advice;
  • The role of different types of evidence and expertise in advisory processes (including from the natural sciences, engineering, social and behavioural sciences, arts and humanities), and the prospects for inter- or trans-disciplinary approaches;
  • The role of public values, engagement and dialogue in science advisory processes;
  • The contribution of boundary organisations to scientific advisory systems and processes, including national academies, learned societies, think tanks, business lobby groups, NGOs, foundations and civil society organisations;
  • Scientific advice in situations of uncertainty, complexity and ‘post-normal’ science;
  • Science advice in diplomacy and international relations.
Exterior of the European Parliament building entrance


Articles submitted to and published in thematic Collections are subject to the journal's standard peer review process and editorial policies. This includes the policy on competing interests. The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions with which a Guest Editor might have a competing interest is handled by another member of the Editorial Board. This Collection has not been supported by sponsorship.