The PolicyHub web portal is an expression of our belief that research plays a crucial role in the creation and implementation of public policies which act in the interest of citizens. As such, research directly contributes to the development of a better, knowledge-based society. Starting from this assumption, our goal is to start a debate and contribute to the development of applied social research, and prompt the increased use of research in processes of public policy making and implementation in the Western Balkan region. We also aim to bring the relationship between research and decision-making to the fore, to encourage the growth of better public policies based on knowledge, facts, and the real needs of citizens.
To achieve these goals, PolicyHub pays special attention to policies and standards for the advancement of social research in general, with a particular focus on the development of applied policy research and analysis. There are a slew of problems in the realm of research in the social sciences in the countries of the Western Balkans, which ultimately have a negative effect on social research in the broader sense. Some of these problems include inadequate financial support for researchers, the nonexistence of clear visions for strategic development of the research sector, an inadequate legal framework, the absence of standards for scientific research, and underdeveloped education policies which ought to provide a foundation for the development of research work.
Despite the many obstacles and challenges faced by socials scientists, debate about these questions remains at the margins of the public discourse. At the same time, attempts by decision-makers to improve the situation in this sector remain lacking. In this context, PolicyHub should act as a platform for open and constructive dialogue about the position and status of applied social science research, about the lack of existing policy in this area, and about the possibilities of their enhancement. It is our hope that this will at least partially help fill the void surrounding this questions which have been neglected for some time.
Aside from this, PolicyHub deals with practices and experiences of applied research, specifically the practical aspects of policy research and analysis. Our goal is to reflect on the concepts, key assumptions, and research methods in policy processes, thus promoting the possibility of using social research in the development and implementation of public policy. In this sense, this platform will in large part contend with questions of policy research methods, innovative approaches to using social research in decision-making, and monitoring and evaluation of public policy implementation. PolicyHub will also examine the problematics of competencies of research organizations and the overall system to together contribute to the development of evidence-based policy. In this way, the portal will attempt to aid researchers, analysts, research organizations, and decision-makers in public institutions to cultivate their capacities to integrate research in policy processes.
Finally, PolicyHub will also deal with questions of the communication of research findings and public policy advocacy. Experiences to date demonstrate a serious gap between researchers and their organizations on the one hand, and decision-makers in public institutions on the other, which can largely be attribute to inadequate communication between the two. Within this theme, PolicyHub will contribute to the rethinking and understanding of the many challenges which researchers and decision-makers face when attempting to work together on creating policy. Specific attention will be paid to innovative methods of communicating research findings and studies. This presupposes discussions on the possible ways that facts, research, and knowledge can affect decision-makers and those who are most affected by those decisions. PolicyHub will reflect on possibly ways to improve communication and interaction between research organizations, decision-makers and other stakeholders in the policy process, so that public policies are based on evidence and some of the best ideas.
PolicyHub is a space which aims to bring together and embolden researchers and practitioners to envisage models of better public policies. The platform is open to an exchange of ideas and experiences, and welcomes anyone who wishes to participate in the expansion of knowledge and conversation surrounding this topic.
If you’re interested in collaboration with PolicyHub, you can contribute by sending your texts, research, comments, and ideas, as well as participating in the various initiatives and events we organize. Feel free to contact us with ideas about potential texts. Instructions for writing articles for our portal as well as a list of suggested formats can be found in our Instructions for Authors page.