Facing toward Governments: Nongovernmental Organizations and Scientific and Technical Advice

Article excerpt

Facing Toward Governments: Nongovernmental Organizations and Scientific and Technical Advice; Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government, New York, NY; 113 pp.; available without charge from the Commission, 10 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10003.

This report is the first evaluation ever made of American independent, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are active in science and technology. It is estimated that more than 2000 NGOs apply over $1 billion to shaping public policy in areas ranging from asbestos to earthquakes to DNA fingerprints. Among the 80 NGOs discussed in the report are the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the RAND Corporation.

The Commission report concludes that it is urgent for S&T NGOs to review their missions, priorities and goals and to assess their performance in light of their objectives with respect to government. "Few NGOs realize the responsibilities they now bear, individually and collectively, in the policy process," says William D. …