Online Archive of Public Policy Research Launched

Scholars and researchers interested in gaining a wide audience, including mayors, state legislators, and other policymakers, for their public policy scholarship can turn to the PolicyArchive (www.PolicyArchive.org), a free comprehensive, online archive of public policy research. PolicyArchive was launched this month by the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) in association with the Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) University Library.

With financial support coming from several foundations, organizers are seeking to make PolicyArchive the largest online repository of public policy research in the world. The archive already includes more than 12,000 policy documents from over 220 think tanks and other research organizations. Organizers expect the archive to house up to 20,000 documents by the end of 2008.

“PolicyArchive builds an online bridge between the worlds of public policy research and legislative implementation. PolicyArchive will put high quality, current research instantly at policymakers’ finger tips,” says Tracy Westen, the CEO of the Center for Governmental Studies, which is based in Los Angeles.

Organizers say the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) sought the IUPUI University Library as a partner because the library is regarded as one of the most technologically sophisticated libraries in the United States. The partnership combines CGS’ experience in public policy research, Web site and database development, fundraising and outreach, paired with the library’s proficiency in document indexing, archiving and retrieving, overseeing large databases of philanthropic and academic research, and coordinating electronic document storage and retrieval with other libraries.

“Partnering with CGS allows us to build on the model for the 21st century academic library and be a leader in providing long term open-access to public policy research. We are pleased to be part of this important project,” says David Lewis, dean of the IUPUI University Library.

PolicyArchive enables authors and publishing organizations to upload their research and make it freely available to users that now include legislators, policymakers, and scholars. The site includes an internal search engine, summaries and full texts of research, a subject index, research synopses, and e-mail notifications of new research.

Current contributors to PolicyArchive include the Aspen Institute, the Center for American Progress, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the Southern Sudan Commission for Census, Statistics and Evaluation, among others. PolicyArchive funders include the California HealthCare Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Markle Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

Founded in 1983, the Center for Governmental Studies has created several technology and media solutions to help individuals participate in their local communities and governments. Among its innovations, the CGS established the California Channel, the largest statewide system of legislative television coverage; the Democracy Network, one of the nation’s first online sources of candidate information; ConnectLA, an online resource of information for economically disadvantaged communities; and CalHealthReform, a Web site that tracks important health care legislation.

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