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News Article | November 4, 2016
Site: www.sciencenews.org

On November 8, millions of voters will turn out to decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. And millions of eligible voters will just stay home. Voter turnout in the United States is incredibly low compared to other modern democracies. In the 2012 presidential election, 53.6 percent of the voting-age population turned out to vote. This puts the United States well behind countries such as Turkey (84.3 percent turnout in 2015) and Belgium (87.2 percent in 2014), where voting is compulsory. But the U.S. also lags behind other countries with voluntary voting, such as Sweden (82.6 percent turnout in 2014), France (71.6 percent in 2012) and many others. In fact, the U.S. ranks 31st out of 35 developed countries in voter turnout, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. It’s a little surprising that Americans are such unenthusiastic voters because they are fairly interested in politics, notes Mert Moral, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Binghamton. “If you look at survey data you find more Americans are equally if not more engaged than their counterparts [in other countries],” he says. “They have bumper stickers, they talk about politics [and] they are interested in political topics at the local level.” Why don’t people vote? Below are four well-studied reasons why people may not head to the polls on November 8, followed by four tactics to get more people to go to the ballot box. In many countries, people are automatically registered to vote. Not so in the United States. “The U.S. system puts the burden on the voter,” says Barry Burden, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A 2012 Pew Research Center study reported that 51 million eligible citizens aren’t registered to vote. Easier registration could bring that number down and, hopefully, boost the number of people who vote. In a 2013 study in the American Journal of Political Science, Burden and his colleagues showed that over the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, allowing people to register to vote at the polls on Election Day increased voter turnout. The single biggest predictor of whether or not people will vote, Burden says, is education level, which has direct and indirect effects on voting. “People are more likely to vote if they have information about the candidates and the process of voting, higher levels of income and education, find themselves living and working in networks of other people who vote,” he says. “Other people who are disadvantaged in those ways are much less likely.” In a two-party system, people might not be able to find someone who represents their views. And if they don’t, Moral says, they might just stay home. “A third-party candidate can’t win an election here,” he says. “This makes people vote for major party candidates or they don’t turn out at all.” There are some people who just don’t care about politics. Some people who don’t vote are people “in social groups [that don’t] really regard politics as an important issue,” explains Eyal Winter, an economist at the University of Leicester in England and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.  And strictly rationally, he notes, “it makes no sense to vote.” It’s very rare for a single vote to change the outcome of an election, and most cases are limited to small, local races. Most of the time, your personal vote just isn’t going to make a difference. Why bother? And too many elections might make voters face burnout. “One of the things that makes the U.S. strange is that there [are] a lot of elections,” says Burden. “We ask voters to make a lot of decisions.” Getting out to the polls can be a hassle, and learning about every single issue takes time. “We have a complicated system and I think that produces fatigue.” No matter what the party, politicians and many citizens want to see their side turn out as much as possible. Facebook users plead with their friends. Politicians hire phone banks to call thousands of people in battleground states. Celebrities beg over YouTube. But four main methods seem to stand out. The messages people receive early in life have a strong impact on whether people vote, says Donald Green, a political scientist at Columbia University in New York City. It helps if parents and teachers let kids know “voting is important — it’s what makes you a functioning adult.” This message may come through in civics and government classes. More education increases the likelihood of voter turnout. But one does not simply send everyone to college to boost voting. Another way to increase turnout is to make it required. Using data from 28 advanced countries, Aina Gallego, a political scientist at the Institute of Public Goods and Policies at the University of Barcelona in Spain, showed in a 2010 study that compulsory voting reduced inequalities in education and voter turnout — simply because everyone had to go do it. Unfortunately, you can lead voters to the polls, but you can’t make them have an opinion on the candidates. Moral examined 18 European party systems and found that compulsory voting goes hand in hand with increased numbers of spoiled and invalid ballots — slashing through them, turning them in blank, or writing in a candidate like “Mickey Mouse.” Not voting may result in a fine, but it’s also costly to get informed on the issues, he says. The net result is that politically uninformed people may “go out to vote, they don’t know who to vote for and they spoil their ballot.” Moral published his results August 9 in Political Research Quarterly. A healthy dose of name-and-shame can have a big effect on Election Day. In a 2008 study in American Political Science Review, Green and his colleagues applied a little social pressure to voters. They sent 180,000 people in Michigan (where voting records are publicly available) a series of mailings before the August 2006 Republican primary for the state elections. Simply asking people to vote resulted in a 1.8 percentage point increase in turnout. Asking people to vote and notifying them that they were being studied — and that their votes were a matter of public record — increased turnout by 2.5 percentage points.  But when the mailings also displayed the voter’s previous voting behavior to the voter and other people in their household, there was a 4.9 percentage point increase in voter turnout compared with people who didn’t get a mailing. If the voters were then also shown their neighbors’ voting records, there was an 8.1 percentage point bump in voter turnout. But while shame may get out the vote, Green cautions that it probably also burns bridges. “I think it produces backlash,” he says, the most heavy-handed naming and shaming especially. In their study, Green and his colleagues noticed that people who received the most shame-heavy mailings also tended to call the number on the mailings — and demand to be left alone. More positive peer pressure might prove effective without the dose of shame, Green notes. Get people to pledge that they’ll show up, and remind them that voting is a matter of public record. “Maybe the most effective is a close friend or coworker who says ‘let’s walk to the polls together,’” he says. They don’t call elections “races” for nothing. In a 2006 study looking at U.S. gubernatorial races from 1990 to 2005, Winter and his colleague Esteban Klor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem looked at differences between who was leading in the polls prior to elections and the voting results for those races. They found that when polling numbers are close, voter turnout increases, especially for the side with the slight majority in the poll. “It’s nicer to support your team when you’re expected to win,” Winter explains. Close races, while nail-biting for candidates and voters alike, might make people turn out in higher numbers. But of course, if you want to have healthy competition, it’s best to have likeable candidates. When it comes to the upcoming presidential race, Burden says he would not be surprised if turnout is even lower than usual. “That’s where things are pushing,” he says. “We know surveys have shown these two nominees have lower favorability ratings than any two other nominees in the history of polling.”  Those low favorability ratings may keep people away on Election Day. Hundreds of nonpartisan, bipartisan and partisan studies have been done on how to win campaigns and influence people, looking at everything from the cost per vote of robo-calls to how to craft the perfect email subject line. But the most effective message is face-to-face and one-on-one, says Green, who, along with colleague Alan Gerber of Yale University, wrote the book, Get out the Vote: How to increase voter turnout. For politicians, this means getting out and canvassing the streets. But maybe someone just wants to get their sister, friend or spouse to vote. In that case, he says “the most effective message would be to express your own interest in the election, your own desire to vote and your own desire to see them vote.” Getting them to vote the way you want them to, however? That’s a different matter.


Zacca-Gonzalez G.,National Medical science Information Center Infomed | Chinchilla-Rodriguez Z.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies | Chinchilla-Rodriguez Z.,SCImago Reseach Group | Vargas-Quesada B.,University of Granada | And 3 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2014

Background: In the greater framework of the essential functions of Public Health, our focus is on a systematic, objective, external evaluation of Latin American scientific output, to compare its publications in the area of Public Health with those of other major geographic zones. We aim to describe the regional distribution of output in Public Health, and the level of visibility and specialization, for Latin America; it can then be characterized and compared in the international context. Methods. The primary source of information was the Scopus database, using the category "Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health", in the period 1996-2011. Data were obtained through the portal of SCImago Journal and Country Rank. Using a set of qualitative (citation-based), quantitative (document recount) and collaborative (authors from more than one country) indicators, we derived complementary data. The methodology serves as an analytical tool for researchers and scientific policy-makers. Results: The contribution of Latin America to the arsenal of world science lies more or less midway on the international scale in terms of its output and visibility. Revealed as its greatest strengths are the high level of specialization in Public Health and the sustained growth of output. The main limitations identified were a relative decrease in collaboration and low visibility. Conclusions: Collaboration is a key factor behind the development of scientific activity in Latin America. Although this finding can be useful for formulating research policy in Latin American countries, it also underlines the need for further research into patterns of scientific communication in this region, to arrive at more specific recommendations. © 2014 Zacca-González et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Chinchilla-Rodriguez Z.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies | Zacca-Gonzalez G.,National Medical science Information Center Infomed | Vargas-Quesada B.,University of Granada | Moya-Anegon F.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Scientometrics | Year: 2015

This study characterizes the volume and visibility of Latin American scientific output in the area of Public Health, through a combined analysis of bibliometric, socioeconomic and health indicators of the top 10 Latin American producers of documents. The information was obtained from the SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR) portal, based on Scopus data, in the category Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, of the area Medicine, for the period 2003-2011. Our scientometric analysis involved a set of quantitative indicators (based on document recount), plus performance ones to measure impact and excellence (based on citation recount) and international collaboration. The socioeconomic indicators measured investment in health and in research, and the number of researchers. Basic health indicators were used, along with the inequity indicator known as INIQUIS. The main results reveal that the research systems with the greatest capacity to communicate scientific results are those of Brazil and Mexico, and potentially Colombia and Argentina. The best visibility was demonstrated by Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Peru, countries with high rates of collaboration. No single country stands out as having a perfectly balanced relationship regarding all the dimensions analyzed. A relative balance is achieved by Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, though with different levels of scientific output. The tangible achievements in health attained by Cuba and Chile do not appear to be related with the results of research published in the area of Public Health. There is clearly a need to find methods that would allow us to evaluate the transfer of research knowledge into practice, by means of the scientometric perspective. © Akadémiai Kiadó


Arencibia-Jorge R.,National Scientific Research Center | Arencibia-Jorge R.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies | de Moya-Anegon F.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Scientometrics | Year: 2010

Cuban scientific output at macro level has not been frequently studied in the literature on scientometrics. The current paper explores the different metric approaches to the Cuban scientific activity carried out by national and international authors. Also, the article develops a scientometric study of the Cuban scientific production as included in Scopus during the period 1996-2007, using socio-economic indicators combined with bibliometric indicators supported by the SCImago Journal & Country Rank. Web of Science and Scopus are compared as information sources. Results confirm the possibility to use Scopus to obtain an objective picture of the Cuban science behaviour during the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the XXI century. The SCImago Journal & Country Rank, in this case, offers an important set of indicators. The combination of these indicators with those related to socio-economic aspects of activities in Science and Technology, allow the authors to show a perspective of the Cuban science system evolution during the period analyzed. The inclusion in Scopus of less-cited journals published in Spanish language and its impact on productivity and citation-based indicators is also discussed. Our investigation found an increasing growth of the Cuban scientific production during the whole period, which is in correspondence to the country efforts and expenditures in Research and Development activities. © Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2009.


Mas-Bleda A.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies | Thelwall M.,University of Wolverhampton | Kousha K.,University of Wolverhampton | Aguillo I.F.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Scientometrics | Year: 2014

Academics can now use the web and the social websites to disseminate scholarly information in a variety of different ways. Although some scholars have taken advantage of these new online opportunities, it is not clear how widespread their uptake is or how much impact they can have. This study assesses the extent to which successful scientists have social web presences, focusing on one influential group: highly cited researchers working at European institutions. It also assesses the impact of these presences. We manually and systematically identified if the European highly cited researchers had profiles in Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic Search, Mendeley, Academia and LinkedIn or any content in SlideShare. We then used URL mentions and altmetric indicators to assess the impact of the web presences found. Although most of the scientists had an institutional website of some kind, few had created a profile in any social website investigated, and LinkedIn—the only non-academic site in the list—was the most popular. Scientists having one kind of social web profile were more likely to have another in many cases, especially in the life sciences and engineering. In most cases it was possible to estimate the relative impact of the profiles using a readily available statistic and there were disciplinary differences in the impact of the different kinds of profiles. Most social web profiles had some evidence of uptake, if not impact; nevertheless, the value of the indicators used is unclear. © 2014, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.


Bleda M.,University of Manchester | Del Rio P.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Research Policy | Year: 2013

In this paper we analyse the conceptual relationship between the market failure rationale and the systemic failure rationale as justifications for policy intervention within an innovation systems (IS) analytical framework. Current policy analyses in the IS literature are characterised by two contrasting theoretical positions regarding the way in which both rationales are conceptually interrelated. In one strand of the literature, the market failure rationale is considered as a valid although insufficient justification for policy intervention that therefore needs to be complemented by the arguments put forward by the systemic failure rationale. This perspective implicitly presents the systemic failure framework as a more general approach than the market failure perspective. On the other hand, a number of IS policy contributions explicitly reject the market failure approach and consider it a flawed argument for government intervention. In this theoretical view, the systemic failure approach is thus proposed as a more appropriate, alternative innovation policy rationale. Despite their relevance as the theoretical bases that currently underpin actual innovation policy design, an analysis of the robustness and conceptual coherence of these contrasting perspectives has not been provided so far. In this work, we set the analytical steps we deem required for this analysis, and investigate under which premises the relationship between the market failure and the system failure rationales proposed by these two policy perspectives is valid from a theoretical point of view. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Benavent-Perez M.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies | Gorraiz J.,University of Vienna | Gumpenberger C.,University of Vienna | de Moya-Anegon F.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Scientometrics | Year: 2012

This study on research collaboration (RC) is an attempt to estimate the degree of internationalization of academic institutions and regions. Furthermore potential influences of RC on excellence initiatives of modern universities are investigated relying on source data obtained from SCImago Institutions Rankings. A positive correlation exists between the degree of collaboration and the normalized impact. However, in contrast to output the normalized impact increase progression is non-linear and fluctuating. Differences occur regarding output volume and normalized impact at geographical region level for the leading universities. Different patterns of the Brute force distribution for each collaboration type were also observed at region level as well as at subject area level. A continuously reduced percentage of the domestic (non-collaboration) academic output is a world trend, whereas a steady increase of "international + national" collaboration is observed globally, however, less distinctive in Asia than in the other regions. The impact of Latin American papers originating from domestic production as well as from national collaboration remains considerably below world average values. © 2012 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.


Ortega J.L.,Vice presidency for Scientific and Technological Research | Orduna-Malea E.,Polytechnic University of Valencia | Aguillo I.F.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Online Information Review | Year: 2014

Purpose - Title and URL mentions have recently been proposed as web visibility indicators instead of inlink counts. The objective of this study is to determine the accuracy of these alternative web mention indicators in the Spanish academic system, taking into account their complexity (multi-domains) and diversity (different official languages). Design/methodology/approach - Inlinks, title and URL mentions from 76 Spanish universities were manually extracted from the main search engines (Google, Google Scholar, Yahoo!, Bing and Exalead). Several statistical methods, such as correlation, difference tests and regression models, were used. Findings - Web mentions, despite some limitations, can be used as substitutes for inlinks in the Spanish academic system, although these indicators are more likely to be influenced by the environment (language, web domain policy, etc.) than inlinks. Research limitations/implications - Title mentions provide unstable results caused by the multiple name variants which an institution can present (such as acronyms and other language versions). URL mentions are more stable, but they may present atypical points due to some shortcomings, the effect of which is that URL mentions do not have the same meaning as inlinks. Practical implications - Web mentions should be used with caution and after a cleaning-up process. Moreover, these counts do not necessarily signify connectivity, so their use in global web analysis should be limited. Originality/value - Web mentions have previously been used in some specific academic systems (US, UK and China), but this study analyses, in depth and for the first time, an entire non-English speaking European country (Spain), with complex academic web behaviour, which helps to better explain previous web mention results. Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.


Holl A.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies | Rama R.,Institute of Economics
Science and Public Policy | Year: 2012

In this paper, we study the pattern of technology sourcing, taking into account where firms source technology and through which channels. We specifically, inquire whether biotechnology firms are different from other firms in their technology sourcing behaviour. Our results show some significant differences in the patterns of technology sourcing. Biotechnology firms show a greater propensity for external technology sourcing, both with regard to the external purchasing of R&D services and with regard to cooperation for innovation. They also show a greater propensity to purchase foreign R&D, but they are not more likely to establish foreign cooperation for innovation once their firm-specific and industry characteristics, as well as sample selection bias, have been taken into account. However, biotechnology firms do show a more varied pattern of sourcing, in both the types of agents used and the geographic origin of the technology. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Paniagua A.,Institute of Public Goods and Policies
Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change | Year: 2013

There is a wide range of individual or collective interpretations of the conceptualisation of rurality. Rural tourism (RT) is a key component in the politics of rural spaces in Europe and, consequently, is clearly associated with the debate about rurality in each country. In addition to RT, this paper studies the framework of commoditisation, associated with its distinct character in each situation, depending on the actors involved in each process, policy or manifestation. It also discusses the role of tourism in generating different notions of rurality among the Spanish regional authorities. The information source used here consists in the critical analysis of national and regional regulations and the policy documents on RT since 1960. The paper finally concludes that RT is an important factor in the generation of different perspectives of rurality in Spain, which corresponds to its main role, rather than its socioeconomic effects, which have been limited to counteracting the effects of the rural exodus. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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