From "endless frontier" to "basic science for use": Social contracts between science and society

Sheila Slaughter, Gary Rhoades

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the National Science Study produced by the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s to see if the priorities of S&T policy were changing, if state agencies were being reorganized to achieve new priorities, and if universities were expected to work closely with industry in reconfigured agencies. Also analyzed was the economic composition of board members of eight S&T policy organizations that informed the National Science Study. It was found that, generally, Republican policy supported both basic science and civilian technology policy but did not advocate reorganization of state administration of S&T. However, a number of the S&T policy groups pushed for the establishment of a separate mission agency for civilian technology. This suggests that conceptualization of a unitary social contract between science and society or iterated principal-agent relations expressing the interaction of science and society are insufficient because there may be multiple social contracts and many principals and agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-572
Number of pages37
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Politics of science
  • Research policy
  • Social contracts between science and society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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