The GovLab Publishes Recommendations for Congress on Evidence-Based Lawmaking

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  • Establish a policy lab with the ability to conduct rapid evidence reviews and data analysis
  • Collaborate with existing research networks to facilitate dialogue and coordination between legislature and research community.
  • Explore collaborating with committee chairs and ranking members (with the support of GAO and CRS) to publish a Congressional research agenda to align research with policymakers’ questions.
  • Create a clearinghouse to showcase evidence-based evaluations of the impact of legislation
  • Pilot the creation of “evidence dockets” that articulate the evidence behind major pieces of legislation
  • Experiment with using new technology to source evidence rapidly in new ways
  • Study how committees currently use research
  • Developing tools for studying efficiency, effectiveness and equity of lawmaking process and legislative outcomes.
  • Interfacing with executive branch to ensure that data produced by federal agencies is accessible to and usable by Congress.
  • Tracking datasets released by legislative branch.
  • Providing guidance to congressional offices regarding publication of legislative branch data.
  • Establishing an open data portal to help the public access data about lawmaking practice and evidentiary bases of legislation.
  • Promoting effective use of new technologies, including machine learning, to make data processing more efficient.
  • Exploring use of existing tools to make data analysis and visualization more effective and accessible.
  • Coordinating improvements to Congress’s data infrastructure.
  • Create a free professional development program that teaches staff how to source high-quality evidence from diverse sources.
  • Create a professional development program that teaches staff how to apply data analytical thinking and uses of data.
  • Creating new and more opportunities for witnesses to participate online and/or asynchronously to test whether this improves diversity and inclusion of who participates and/or improves the quality of evidence shared.
  • Establishing regular, informal and off-the-record briefing seminars involving researchers, Members, and staff to build awareness about scientific or technical policy topics.
  • Experiment with publishing video recordings of Committee hearings on a delay to test whether this change encourages Members to ask more questions and engage in more dialogue.
  • Require that grant-funded research outputs be accompanied by a short memo explaining research to policymakers.
  • Implement a prize-backed challenge for researchers to produce evidence that has a real-world value to policymakers in response to a research question posed by Congress.
  • Require that institutions receiving federal grants have in place policies that recognize, encourage and reward public engagement and communication of science.
  • Universities and nonprofit organizations should offer researchers free training on how to effectively communicate the findings from their research to policymakers and the public.
  • Researchers should present findings in a format that makes research easy for legislators, policymakers and the public to understand why the findings are important and, where applicable, how they can be incorporated into legislation
  • Fund researchers to participate in fellowship programs, which place academics in committees’ or Members’ offices and counts public service toward research tenure requirements
  • Develop new fellowship models that place researchers within Congressional support offices
  • Work with donors and philanthropic sources to pay for these opportunities
  • Couple fellowships with training for researchers in the workings of Congress to ensure that they can be immediately useful to Members and Committees.
  • Universities should make their researchers and their research more accessible and findable by policymakers. They should experiment with new uses of technology, especially machine learning that makes large quantities of information easier to search, to make research more searchable by creating expert networks of their faculty and research.
  • Universities should support and encourage their faculty and students to participate in networks and organizations that connect researchers to policymakers.



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The GovLab

The GovLab


The Governance Lab improving people’s lives by changing how we govern. @thegovlab #opendata #peopleledinnovation #datacollab