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Trends in American scientists’ political donations and implications for trust in science

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Scientists in the United States are more politically liberal than the general population. This fact has fed charges of political bias. To learn more about scientists’ political behavior, we analyze publicly available Federal Election Commission data. We find that scientists who donate to federal candidates and parties are far more likely to support Democrats than Republicans, with less than 10 percent of donations going to Republicans in recent years. The same pattern holds true for employees of the academic sector generally, and for scientists employed in the energy sector. This was not always the case: Before 2000, political contributions were more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. We argue that these observed changes are more readily explained by changes in Republican Party attitudes toward science than by changes in American scientists. We reason that greater public involvement by centrist and conservative scientists could help increase trust in science among Republicans.
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ARTICLE
Trends in American scientistspolitical donations
and implications for trust in science
Alexander A. Kaurov 1,2,3 , Viktoria Cologna1,5, Charlie Tyson4,5 & Naomi Oreskes1
Scientists in the United States are more politically liberal than the general population. This
fact has fed charges of political bias. To learn more about scientistspolitical behavior, we
analyze publicly available Federal Election Commission data. We nd that scientists who
donate to federal candidates and parties are far more likely to support Democrats than
Republicans, with less than 10 percent of donations going to Republicans in recent years. The
same pattern holds true for employees of the academic sector generally, and for scientists
employed in the energy sector. This was not always the case: Before 2000, political con-
tributions were more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. We argue that
these observed changes are more readily explained by changes in Republican Party attitudes
toward science than by changes in American scientists. We reason that greater public
involvement by centrist and conservative scientists could help increase trust in science
among Republicans.
https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01382-3 OPEN
1Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. 2Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, Institute for Advanced Study,
Princeton, NJ, USA. 3Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Seattle, WA, USA. 4Department of English, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
5
These
authors contributed equally: Viktoria Cologna, Charlie Tyson. email: kaurov@ias.edu
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Introduction
American academia is often accused of liberal bias, and
some observers have blamed the academys left-wing slant
for undermining trust in science (Duarte et al., 2015). The
impression that scientists are overwhelmingly liberal has provided
an impetus for conservative attacks on scienticndings and
fueled the rise of conservative counter-institutions dedicated to
challenging liberally biasedacademic science, chiey for a lay
audience (Mann and Schleifer, 2020).
Previous attempts to study the political ideologies of aca-
demics, however, have suffered from severe limitations. Many
studies of faculty politics aiming to unmask professorial leftism
undertaken by think tanks such as the American Enterprise
Institute, or conservative academic centers such as the Mercatus
Centerare clearly biased, focusing disproportionately on elite
private universities, or selectively targeting disciplines such as
womens studies, which has an acknowledged anti-sexist political
orientation. Others are methodologically problematic, relying on
the crude binary metric of voter registration to try to understand
the complex question of political viewpoint, or drawing conclu-
sions from very small sample sizes (Tyson & Oreskes, 2020).
Methodologically robust studies that include faculty from a wide
range of disciplines and institution types, have a large sample size,
and ask standardly worded questions nd a more centrist pro-
fessoriate than is alleged in conservative discourse. The most
comprehensive and methodologically robust study of faculty
politics, done in 2006 by the sociologists Neil Gross and Solon
Simmons, found that moderates slightly outnumber liberals
(Gross and Simmons, 2014). This nding does not support alle-
gations of widespread extreme liberal orientationmuch less bias
in academic life. Nonetheless, there is evidence that most
American scientists favor the Democratic Party; a 2009 Pew
survey found that 55 percent of scientists identify as Democrats,
while just 6 percent say they are Republicans (32 percent identify
as independents) (Rosenberg, 2009).
In this paper, we attempt to better understand the political
views of American scientists by examining their contributions to
political campaigns, using data-mining techniques to examine
publicly available information. The Federal Election Commission
(FEC) maintains a publicly accessible database of donations made
by individuals to federal candidates and parties from 1979 to the
present, which can be sorted according to many parameters,
including professional employment. The FEC data, covering 43
years, allow us to track longitudinal as well as short-term shifts in
political giving by scientists. This data set has the added advan-
tage of including scientists working in both industry and
academia.
Recent years have seen a large increase in total federal dona-
tions, many of them small-dollar amounts, driven largely by
online-donation platforms and social-media campaigns. This
increase in political giving provides a new incentive to look at this
body of data, which has previously, for example, been used to
assess the political ideologies of American lawyers (Bonica et al.,
2015). Donations are of course not the same as beliefsand those
who donate are a subset of all scientists, biased in favor of those
motivated to make a monetary donationbut donations are one
measure of beliefs. We use monetary donations to political parties
as a clearer measure of political orientation than party registra-
tion, insofar as many Americans, including many scientists
(according to Pew data), are independent voters, people may not
change their registration even as their views may evolve, and/or
there may be a lag between evolving views and changing regis-
tration. We use monetary donations as a quantiable measure, as
opposed to evolving political views, which may be difcult or
impossible to quantify. Moreover, the data on donations is
homogeneous across the United States, while voter-registration
lists must be requested from each state, and the information
shared in them varies from state to state.
Methodology
FEC donation records are available from 1979 (FEC.gov, 2022).
We weigh donations by amount and consider donations to
Republicans, Democrats, and all third parties combined. Dona-
tions to campaigns and candidates whose afliation to the poli-
tical parties is marked unknownin the FEC database were
excluded. The proportion of unidentied donations is low, and
cannot affect the main results of this study. However, in some
cases it may be comparable to donations to third parties. From
2002 on, each FEC donation record lists the donors employer
and occupation. We lter the FEC data by occupation to calculate
the fraction of political donations from academic scientists,
industry scientists, and engineers.
To capture political donations from academic scientists, we
select donors who list any employer that contains collegeor
universityin its name, and select donors whose occupation
contains words professor,”“faculty,”“scientistor lecturer.In
order to select a contrasting group, we also select occupations that
contain the word administrator. We present donations data
from all college and university employees, as well as the general
professoriate. To isolate the scientists within the professoriate, we
have matched donor names to records in Scopus, a large database
of scholarly abstracts and citations. We separately consider Ivy
League institutions and institutions that are members of the
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
To capture donations from industry, we focused on ten energy
companiesExxon Mobil, Chevron, Marathon Petroleum, Phil-
lips 66, Valero Energy, Energy Transfer, World Fuel Services,
ConocoPhillips, Exelon Corporation and Plains GP Holdings
which rank highly on the S&P 500 and employ many scientists
and engineers. To determine which energy-sector donations come
from executives and which from working scientists, we lter
based on whether the listed occupation contains supervisor,
chairman,”“CEO,COO,”“VP,”“executive,orpresident(to
capture executives); or engineer,”“geologist,”“chemist,”“geo-
physicist,”“scientist,”“professor,or researcher(to capture
scientists). The pipeline of the analysis can be accessed on GitHub
code repository (https://github.com/lue/political-donations-by-
scientists).
To gain information on how Republicansand Democrats
levels of trust in the scientic community have evolved over time,
we use the General Social Survey (Smith, 2015), which has been
conducted regularly from 1972, with the most recent survey in
2021. To identify the political afliation of individuals, we use the
answer to the question: Generally speaking, do you usually think
of yourself as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or what?
We omit from our analysis records of individuals who identify
with another party, provide no answer, or identify as Indepen-
dent. To estimate the level of trust in the scientic community, we
use the response to the question: I am going to name some
institutions in this country. As far as the people running these
institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of
condence, only some condence, or hardly any condence at all
in them? K. Scientic Community.We use the fraction of
people who answered a great dealto track Republicansand
Democratsviews on the scientic community over time.
We adapt Scopus database API (Elsevier, 2022) to retrieve the
subject areas of the professors based on their names. This
operation allows us to identify whether donors work in physical,
health, social or life sciences as dened in the Scopus database.
Often researchers have fractional contributions to various elds;
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in such cases, we proportionally split their donations among
corresponding areas. We do not use geographical information of
donors with the afliations in the Scopus database given that
people might not live near their place of work, and many aca-
demic workers move between institutions. Some common names
appear in the Scopus database many times; and in such cases, we
take the top search result. In total, we identify approximately
100,000 professors making 1,000,000 unique donations since
2002. With the use of the Scopus database, we are able to identify
80,000 of these professors. Excluding all search results with
multiple entries reduces number of uniquely identied professors
to 28,000 but does not qualitatively change our results.
We plot lines from the moment when sufcient FEC data
becomes available for the given time period to calculate statistics.
Thus, lines do not start immediately when data collection was
initiated in 1979, or for when the additional employment data
began to be included in FEC records in 2002.
There are certain limitations to our approach. First, names and
employment information are self-reported and may therefore be
incorrect. Second, donation patterns have changed dramatically
in recent years due to online-donation platforms that simplied
the donation process. Therefore, donation patterns from recent
years may not be strictly comparable to earlier periods. Third,
scientists who donate are likely to be more politically active than
the general population of scientists. We attempt to mitigate these
shortcomings by considering only carefully selected groups of
donors and looking strictly at the ratio of donations to Repub-
licans and Democrats.
Results
Scientists in Academia. Analysis of the FEC data conrms that
American scientists who donate to political candidates favor
Democratic candidates and organizations over Republican ones.
In fact, they do so dramatically. However, this is a relatively
recent phenomenon. From 19842000, the proportion of dona-
tions to Republicans among all university and college employees
was fairly stable, at around 40 percent. Academic employees
favored Democrats, but only slightly. (Data are not available to
separately analyze scientists vs. other academic employees before
2002.) But, from 20002021, donations to Republicans fell dras-
tically, to less than 10 percent (Fig. 1). Starting in 2016, professors
gave even less to Republicans than did university employees
overall, with only about 5 percent of donations from the pro-
fessoriate going to Republicans. Ivy League professors gave less
stillabout 2 percent. The total dollar value of aggregate dona-
tions increased dramatically in 2019, when academic donations to
Republicans were at a recent historic low. Thus, we can observe
that in the past 3 years, academic scientistsgiving has gone
almost entirely to Democratic candidates.
The data reveal additional striking trends. Professors, including
scientists, donate substantially less to Republicans than do other
employees of academic institutions, such as administrators. This
suggests that administrators, who run their institutions and make
many of the policy decisions, are less liberal (or, at least, less
estranged from Republicans) than the professors they employ.
Second, the trend of decreasing donations to Republicans holds
for both sectarian and non-sectarian institutions. While the
fraction of total donations to Republicans by researchers at Ivy
League institutions has historically been lower than the average
for colleges and universities overall, we observe a comparable
trend of decreased giving to Republicans from scientists at
institutions afliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and
Universities. Third, a decrease in the fraction of donations to the
Republican Party can be observed across different disciplines
(Fig. 2) (while we observe that the fraction of donations to the
Republican Party is slightly higher for professors in the physical
sciences than in the health, social and life sciences, to assess
variation across scientic disciplines would require improved
methods for matching the FEC and SCOPUS databases). These
data show that U.S. scientists in academia have in the past 20
years become increasingly estranged from the Republican Party,
irrespective of their institution type and discipline.
Scientists in industry. Slightly less than half (43 percent as of
2019) of American PhD-holding scientists are employed in aca-
demia; a similar proportion are employed in the private sector
(about 42 percent) (Langin, 2019). Therefore, any analysis of the
views of scientiststhat looks only at academics will at best
capture half the story.
Here, we focus on the energy sector as a historically
conservative-leaning sector that employs large numbers of
scientists. We might expect scientists in this sector to be more
conservative, and therefore more supportive of the Republican
Party, than scientists in academia. While scientists in the energy
sector are more supportive of the Republican Party than are their
colleagues in academia, the data show a similar pattern of
decreasing donations to the Republican Party from energy-sector
scientists and engineers.
In the energy sector overall, support for Republican candidates
decreased from 60 percent of total donations during 19902000
to 30 percent in 2020. This decrease is especially marked among
energy-sector scientists. Donations from energy-sector scientists
to Republicans decreased from 50 percent in 20082012 to just 10
percent in 20182020. Note that while the fraction of donations
to Republicans increases after 2020, the total volume of donations
is very low in the post-election period (Fig. 3).
In studying political donations from the energy sector, we see a
very large divergence between executives and management, on
the one hand, and scientists and engineers, on the other, with
executives giving ve times more frequently to Republicans
during the 2020 election cycle (Fig. 3). Through FEC data we can,
in effect, track a cadre of professional scientists who are
dissenting from the corporations view (Coll, 2013). A compar-
able divergence (between administrators and the professoriate)
prevails in academia, albeit of much lower magnitude. In both
industry and academia, working scientists are much less likely to
donate money to the Republican Party and Republican candidates
than are the people who run their organizations.
Donations to third parties. Throughout the time period of
available data, third-party campaigns and candidates have received
only a small fraction of all donations. Given the large share of
scientists who identify as political independents, this fact may itself
be striking. In Fig. 4, trend lines are shown for various occupa-
tional categories used in previous gures. While it is impossible to
observe any ne details in trends due to the small number of
donations, it is safe to say that none of the trends in third-party
giving have shown any major changes comparable to the decline in
Republican Party support in recent decades. This stable fraction of
around 1% is quite low, but it is comparable to the Republican
Partys support among the professoriate in recent years (Fig. 1).
Discussion
Political leanings of scientists and trust in science. Political-
donation data conrm that scientists who make donations to
political parties or candidates give disproportionately to the
Democratic Party. However, this is not a peculiar feature of
academic life: scientists in industry, including in the historically
conservative energy sector, also donate disproportionately to
Democrats.
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Fig. 1 Polarization of college and university employees across occupations. Top panel: fraction of respondents with a great dealof condence in the
scientic community among Republicans and Democrats and Independents (neither, no response) in the General Social Survey. The second panel: fraction
of donations going to Republican candidates and organizations from all individuals employed by all colleges and universities (solid blue); by the
professoriate within those organizations (dashed green); and by the administrators (dot-dashed orange). The general trend in donations to Republican
candidates (solid gray) are shown for reference. The third panel: same line for professoriate (dashed green) and further split into professors at institutions
afliated with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (dot-dashed red); and by the professoriate at Ivy League institutions (dotted purple).
Bottom panel: the total dollar value of donations in million USD per year among all college and university employees. The lines begin when sufcient data
are available to evaluate the statistics.
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The fact that scientists in academia and the energy sector
predominantly donate to the Democratic Party conrms prevail-
ing impressions and previous survey data that scientists,
particularly academic scientists, are more liberal than Americans
in general. However, this nding is not proof of a problematic
biasin academic life. First, a similar pattern holds in industry,
yet we rarely hear complaints of liberal bias in industry. Second,
prior research shows a strong correlation between political
orientation and education level (Geiger, 2016). Sociologists have
shown that higher education has a liberalizing effect on social and
political views, even while universities also play an important role
in the formation of political identity for young conservatives
(Gross, 2013; Binder and Wood, 2013; Kidder and Binder, 2020).
Science education in particular has been linked to greater political
liberalism (Ma-Kellams et al., 2014). Therefore, on average, we
would expect scientists in both academia and industry, as people
with substantially more education than most Americans, to be
substantially more liberal than the general population; the FEC
data are consistent with this expectation. Education as a
controlling factor would also explain both why scientists in
academia and industry are more liberal than their supervisors,
and why the polarization magnitude is greater in industry:
scientists almost always hold PhDs, university administrators may
or may not, and corporate executives in the energy industry rarely
do. However, it may also be that the hierarchical position of
academic administrators and energy industry executives affects
their views on authority, which in turn would affect political
preferences.
What education levels do not explain is the dramatic decline in
support for Republicans in recent years. We argue that several
other factors, beyond education polarization, help to explain the
evolving political orientation of scientists, and their recent shift
away from the Republican Partydevelopments that have
important implications for public trust in science.
First is the Republican Partys explicit turn away from science.
In recent years, the Republican Party as a whole, and prominent
Fig. 2 Polarization of Energy sector employees across occupations. Fraction of donations going to Republicans from scientists working in different subject
areas: physical sciences (solid green), health sciences (dashed red), social sciences (dot-dashed purple), life sciences (dotted brown).
Fig. 3 Donations by professors in different subject areas. Fraction of
donations going to Republicans from all individuals employed by one of the
top 10 energy-sector companies (solid blue), energy-sector scientists and
engineers (dashed green), energy-sector executives (dot-dashed red), and
the magnitude of polarization between them (shaded region). The
donations from all employees in top 10 technology-sector companies are
shown for comparison (dotted orange). The general trend in donations to
Republican candidates (solid gray). The lower part of the graph indicates
the volume of donations in million USD per year among all employees of
the top 10 energy-sector companies.
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leaders within it, have displayed an antagonistic attitude toward
the scientic enterprise and many of its ndings, particularly in
well-publicized areas of environmental science and public health.
This has been true for some time with respect to climate change,
with many Republican leaders expressing skepticism about the
scientic consensus on climate change and its human causes and
some involved in overt attacks on climate scientists such as
Michael Mann. In the past 2 years, it has been true with respect to
the SARS-CoV2 virus as well, with many Republican leaders
challenging scienticndings on the efcacy of masking and
vaccination and personal attacks by right-wing institutions and
news outlets on Dr. Anthony Fauci. It seems likely that such
attacks have alienated many scientistsincluding those with
moderate or conservative views on social, scal, or military issues
from the Republican Party (Chris Mooney, 2007).
Second is the Republican Partyspopulistturn, particularly
since the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Conservative attacks on
science go beyond complaints about technocracy or excessive
regulation. One strategy of Republican populism has been to cast
scientists as out-of-touch elites. Conservatives have pushed a
portrayal of scientists as politically radical, or as blinkered
denizens of the left-wing Ivory Tower, undermining scientic
credibility on various issues from the mechanisms driving
anthropogenic climate change to public-health guidance against
Covid-19. While our analysis focuses on developments in
American political life, recent studies by Austrian and Norwegian
researchers have also found an association between right-wing
populism and negative attitudes toward science (Huber et al.,
2021; Krange et al., 2021).
A third factor concerns changes among Democrats. Research-
ers have charted an increase of trust in science among Democrats
since the 1970s. In the same period, and perhaps as a response to
Republicansattacks on science, Democratic Party elites have
frequently incorporated support for science and scientic
research into their political messaging. One study has argued
that more than half of the increase in the partisan gap in trust in
science is due to increased condence in science among
Democrats (Lee, 2021).
Another hypothesis is that the underlying norms of science
(specically communism and universalism) conict with con-
servative views. Communism refers to the idea that results of
scientic research should be the common property of the
scientic community, while universalism refers to the idea that
knowledge should transcend racial, class, national, or political
barriers. A recent study provides empirical evidence for this
hypothesis, showing that endorsement of these values was
negatively associated with conservative and libertarian views
(Lewandowsky & Oberauer, 2021). Moreover, a substantial
literature in political psychology has found that liberals, as
compared to conservatives, score higher on measures of tolerance
of ambiguity, integrative complexity, and actively open-minded
thinking (the last of which involves a commitment to changing
ones mind in response to new evidence) (Azevedo and Jost, 2021;
Jost, 2017; Pennycook & Cheyne, 2020; Price et al., 2015).
Therefore, certain foundational norms of modern science, as well
as certain habits of mind crucial for scientic inquiry, might sit in
tension with conservative attitudes. On the other hand, this
conict would not explain the recent character of the
observed shift.
The General Social Survey (GSS) provides additional relevant
evidence. The GSS has had a question about condence in the
scientic community,dating back to the 1970s. In these data, we
see that there is both a major ideological shift and a partisan
reversal of attitudes toward science since the 1970s, and that the
substantive changes mostly occurred from 2004 onward (Fig. 1,
top panel). As the sociologist Gordon Gauchat has observed,
conservatives begin the period with the highest levels of
condence in the scientic community, relative to liberals and
moderates, and end with the lowest (Gauchat, 2012). In the 1980s,
Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say that they
had a great dealof condence in the scientic community. By
the 2010s, Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to
express a great deal of trust in the scientic community; in 2021,
65 percent of Democrats reported a great deal of condence in
the scientic community, but only 32 percent of Republicans did.
We know of no evidence showing that the makeup of scientists,
in terms of their educational levels, changed during this time. In
contrast, many studies have tracked how the Republican Party
has developed a more oppositional attitude toward science since
the Reagan administration (Oreskes & Conway, 2011). Our data
show that the partisan reversal in attitudes toward the scientic
community roughly overlaps with scientists turning away from
the Republican Party. Moreover, as we have shown elsewhere,
conservative complaints about liberal biasgo back into the
1950s, long predating the shift in political donations from
scientists revealed by the FEC data (Tyson & Oreskes, 2020).
Thus, the evidence does not support the conclusion that
Republican voters (or other conservatives) distrust science
Fig. 4 Donations to third parties. Fraction of donations going to third parties from all individuals (solid black/gray), college and university employees
(dashed blue), individuals employed by one of the top 10 energy-sector companies (dot-dashed orange), and employees in top 10 technology-sector
(dotted green).
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because scientists are anti-Republican. Rather, it suggests that
scientists have turned away from the Republican Party because of
its distrust or antagonism to science, particularly in the past
1520 years.
Does it matter that scientists support democrats more than
republicans? Is the political orientation of scientists harmful for
the validity of scientic results, public trust in science, prospects
for the public funding of science, or the perceived legitimacy of
science in policymaking? Claims that scientists distort research
for the sake of liberal political agendas have not been sub-
stantiated by any solid evidence (Larregue, 2018). For instance,
one study looking at political slant in psychology research (a eld
largely dominated by liberal scholars) found that ndings of
research articles whose abstracts were coded as liberal (i.e., arti-
cles whose research conclusions were more consistent with a
liberal worldview) were just as likely to be replicable and as sta-
tistically robust as the ndings of research articles whose abstracts
were coded as having a conservative slant (Reinero et al., 2020).
Gallup and Pew surveys conrm the GSSsnding that
Democrats have higher condence in science than Republicans,
and that condence in science among Republicans has decreased
in recent decades (Jones, 2021; Funk et al., 2019). Most
Americans, including moderate and liberal Republicans, view
scientists as neither conservative nor liberal (Kennedy & Funk,
2015). An increasing share of conservative Republicans, however,
perceives scientists as liberal: while in 2009, 28 percent of
conservative Republicans saw scientists as liberal, in 2014 that
gure had risen to 42 percent (Kennedy & Funk, 2015).
Therefore, perception of scientists as stalwarts of the opposing
party may well have contributed to Republicansdecreased trust
in science, especially in a context of increasing party polarization.
Republicansdecreased trust in science is further driven by
opposition to the policy implications of certain scienticndings
(e.g., anthropogenic drivers of climate change)especially
demands for greater government regulation or new forms of
taxation to address the problem. Such resistance might explain
why 73 percent of Democrats believe that scientists should take
an active role in policy debates, compared to 43 percent of
Republicans (Kennedy and Funk, 2019).
The distance that conservatives have maintained from
academic science may also confer certain political advantages.
By establishing intellectual networks, especially think tanks, that
operate outside the connes of the academy, conservative
intellectuals have avoided retreating into scholasticism and have
succeeded in pushing public debate to the right (Medvetz, 2014;
Gross et al., 2011).
What can scientists do? If the trends captured in our study
continue, the increased clustering of scientists away from
Republicans might further undermine the perceived legitimacy of
scientists qua policy advisors in the view of conservative voters,
and further decrease conservative Republicanstrust in science.
These trends might lead some people to consider that perhaps
conservatives are right when they call for greater ideological
diversity in academic life. However, that solution, if it can be
called that, neglects the role of Republican anti-scientic
positions.
What might make sense, however, is to focus attention on
scientists whose views are more in line with Americans in general.
The data examined here pertain only to scientists who gave
money subject to FEC disclosure rules. Scientists who give money
to political parties likely feel strongly about political issues, and it
may be that these scientists are also more likely to contribute to
public conversations on contested issues. If so, it would reinforce
the common impression that scientists, like other academics, are
all extremely liberal.
However, as discussed above, available evidence shows that
most academics are actually politically moderate or only slightly
left of center. There are likely many scientists of moderate or
conservative political persuasion who support causes other than
Republican candidates and the Republican Party, perhaps in part
because they are troubled by prevailing Republican positions on
evolution, climate, or Covid-19. Many of these scientists may be
sitting on the sidelines, as it were, of public debate. Studies of the
trusted messenger effectsuggest that we are all more likely to
trust a message if it comes from someone who we believe shares
our values (Siegrist et al., 2000; Kahan, 2010). Therefore, we
suggest that it may help public understanding of science, and
perhaps improve trust in science among Republicans, if the
scientists not captured in this study did more to engage in public
conversation and debate in order to create a conversational
climate of value pluralism (Cologn, 2021). For example, a recent
study found that Republicansunderstanding of the existence,
causes, and harms of climate change increased when exposed to
professional videos featuring Republican spokespeople sharing
climate messages that resonate with conservative values (Gold-
berg et al., 2021). Therefore, greater engagement by Republican
scientists might help foster trust in science among Republicans
and push back against anti-scientic messaging from the
Republican Partys elites.
Data availability
All data used in this study are publicly available on the following
websites: Federal Election Commission (FEC.gov, 2022): https://
www.fec.gov/data/browse-data/?tab=bulk-data. The General
Social Survey (Smith, 2015): https://gss.norc.org/. SCOPUS API
by Elsevier (Elsevier, 2022): https://dev.elsevier.com/
Received: 18 April 2022; Accepted: 27 September 2022;
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Acknowledgements
Alexander A Kaurov acknowledges support from the Deans Competitive Fund for
Promising Scholarship from Harvard University. Viktoria Cologna acknowledges sup-
port from the Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoc Mobility Fellowship
(P500PS_202935).
Author contributions
Conceptualization: AAK, VC, CT, NO; Methodology: AAK; Investigation: AAK;
Visualization: AAK; Supervision: NO; Writingoriginal draft: CT, VC; Writingreview
& editing: AAK, NO.
Competing interests
The authors declare no competing interests.
Ethical approval
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of
the authors.
Informed consent
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of
the authors.
Additional information
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to Alexander A. Kaurov.
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