Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

Congress’s Own Think Tank

Learning from the Legacy of the Office of Technology Assessment (1972-1995)

Authors: Blair, P.

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About this book

Congress' Own Think Tank recaps the OTA experience?it's creation, operation, and circumstances of its closure? and that of organizations attempting to fill the gap since OTA's closure as well as a number of new forces shaping the current context for science and technology issues facing the Congress.

About the authors

Dr. Peter D. Blair is Executive Director of the National Research Council's Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. He was previously Assistant Director of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and Director of the agency's Industry, Commerce and International Security Division.

Reviews

"There has been no time since OTA's defunding in 1995 that the Congress needed more an institution through which both parties could jointly base their policy debates on the best scientifically established facts. As Peter Blair knows from experience at both OTA and the National Academies, the key to informing policy alternatives by the best technical knowledge requires scientific analysis that is dependable, understandable, and pertinent to the political context. Blair offers three institutional options; without one of them our democracy will continue to erode." - Lewis M. Branscomb, Professor Emeritus, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA

"Peter Blair's carefully researched history of Congress's own think tank - the non-partisan Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) (1972-1995) - chronicles the enduring need of Congress for independent, authoritative, and objective analyses of major public policy issues involving science and technology. His personal observations as a former OTA Assistant Director are poignant lenses on the key people and events that kindled and earned the agency respect around the world until its demise in 1995. Blair forcefully argues that today's question is not so much as whether but in what forms science and technology advice can be sought and received by Congress. His book is a valuable source of wisdom for the science and technology community and our citizen governors." - John H. Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1993-1998; Director Office of Technology Assessment, 1979-1993

"For almost a quarter of a century the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) was one of the most respected, productive, and cost-efficient agencies in history, producing comprehensive reports for the House and Senate on issues relating to climate change, health care policy, agricultural production, telecommunications, space policy, electronic surveillance, national defense, and may more. In a senseless fit of government reduction the agency was closed in 1995, and the country lost a valuable resource. A new mechanism for providing independent, non-partisan, science and technology advice for the Congress is essential for our country. No one is better able than Peter Blair to tell the story of why OTA worked so well for legislators and the general public and what can be done now to revive the service OTA provided. With an insider's view and with science policy expertise he gives a clear, well-documented account that will be invaluable to anyone thinking about how best to legislate in a world teeming with overlapping and incompletely understood technologies." - Rush D. Holt, Jr., U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 12th congressional district


Table of contents (10 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Blair, Peter D.

    Pages 1-10

  • Pre-History: Meeting the Need for Science Advice to the U.S. Congress

    Blair, Peter D.

    Pages 11-23

  • Key Features of the Technology Assessment Act of 1972

    Blair, Peter D.

    Pages 24-40

  • Startup: Setting the Agenda in OTA’s Early Years

    Blair, Peter D.

    Pages 41-49

  • Growing Pains: Evolution of OTA’s Process of Technology Assessment

    Blair, Peter D.

    Pages 50-57

Buy this book

eBook $59.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-35905-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $75.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-36089-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $70.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-47208-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • This title is currently reprinting. You can pre-order your copy now.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Congress’s Own Think Tank
Book Subtitle
Learning from the Legacy of the Office of Technology Assessment (1972-1995)
Authors
Series Title
Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc.
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-35905-6
DOI
10.1057/9781137359056
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-36089-2
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-47208-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 128
Topics