“Perceptions of Science in America" is the first of a series of reports that will be issued by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Public Face of Science project, which is a three-year initiative to understand and address various aspects of the evolving relationship between the public and scientists. Perceptions of Science in America draws on existing public opinion survey data to evaluate whether trust in science is changing, and to identify factors that may strengthen or diminish this trust. Data sources include NORC at the University of Chicago, the National Science Board Science and Engineering Indicators, Pew Research Center, Research!America, and ScienceCounts.
A new research paper from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Public Face of Science initiative, The Public Face of Science Across the World: Optimism and Innovation in an Era of Reservations and Inequality, offers broad insight into key factors shaping perceptions of science in different countries and among different populations. Researched and written by scholars Matthew C. Nisbet (Northeastern University) and Erik C. Nisbet (Ohio State University), the report offers a nuanced understanding of views of science in 54 countries and cross-national trends. Among its conclusions, the report finds less optimistic views of science in countries with higher standards of living and greater political freedoms. The publication includes an exploration of this “postindustrial paradox” and how it can be understood in conjunction with changing beliefs in religious, civic, and economic institutions.