Societal Experts Action Network Connects Scientists to Policy Makers

June 17, 2020

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with support from the National Science Foundation, has created the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN). The project’s goal is to connect decision makers leading the response to COVID-19 with behavioral and social science researchers able to inform critical local, state, and federal policy and practice responses to the pandemic.

On June 11, SEAN released a rapid expert consultation guide to support leaders using COVID-19 data like hospitalization rates and results of testing to understand the spread of the disease in their communities. See this op-ed by FABBS board member, Jeffrey M. Zacks, for an example of challenges in reading pandemic data.

The guide directs decision makers to consider five criteria to ensure reliability and validity when evaluating COVID-19 data: bias (potential for systematic under- or over-estimation), representativeness, measurement uncertainty, timeliness, and geographical area.

SEAN experts are available to respond directly to questions from policy makers. Please contact them if you are a scientist with relevant expertise and would like to be considered as a resource: or 202-334-3440.

The NAS executive committee will coordinate solicitation and responses; anticipate areas of need in the behavioral, social, and economic sciences for decision makers; and guide the dissemination of relevant responses.