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SBE 2020: Future Research in the Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences

Special Announcement

The period for submitting white papers in response to the SBE 2020 Project closed on October 15, 2010. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this effort. Public access to the collection should be available by the end of this calendar year. Please come back and visit this site for updates on our progress.


NSF/SBE invites individuals and groups to contribute white papers outlining grand challenge questions that are both foundational and transformative.  They are foundational in the sense that they reflect deep issues that engage fundamental assumptions behind disciplinary research traditions and are transformative because they seek to leverage current findings to unlock a new cycle of research. We expect these white papers to advance SBE’s mission to study human characteristics and human behaviors in its Social and Economic Sciences and Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences divisions, as well as to be the nation’s resource for understanding the structure and development of science through its Science Resources Statistics division.  This page provides guidance for authors and instructions for submittal.

Please note that this request is drawn from the Dear Colleague Letter for SBE 2020: Future Research in the Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences.


White papers should address the following questions:

  1. What is the fundamental question/questions? And why is this important?  Explain the challenge question, capability to be created, or scientific strategy; provide context in terms of recent research results and standing questions in the field; and suggest the range of disciplines that may contribute.
  2. What are the implications for advancing the domain? For building capacity? And for providing infrastructure?  By “advancing the domain,” we mean the fundamental science; by “capacity” we mean education and training of graduate students, faculty, and systems of prestige, promotion, and recognition; and by “infrastructure”, we mean the shared data and systems that enable the research (e.g., large survey data sets, research centers, shared toolkits and so on).
  3. Who is doing provocative research?
  4. What other questions should SBE ask as responses are analyzed?

Respondents must answer (1) and (2); they are encouraged to answer (3) and (4). 


Acceptable submissions consist of:

  1. An abstract of no more than 200 words.
  2. A white paper in English of no more than 2,000 words with page numbers on each page in a Microsoft Word-compatible format.
  3. Up to 3 references to relevant readings.
  4. A Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license (http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/) so that the material may be made widely available.
  5. A completed metadata record.

Since individual papers may be downloaded and printed, authors are advised to put the title of the paper and names and affiliations of all authors on the first page of the paper together with the abstract, which will also be uploaded separately.  Authors are also encouraged to use a running short title on each page of their paper.

Submission Date

No later than October 15, 2010.

Use by NSF

NSF/SBE plans to use these contributions over the next year to assist in formulating plans that will guide its strategic scientific thinking. Consequently, it is anticipated that all abstracts and papers will be made accessible through the SBE 2020 website. Authors who do not wish to have their papers made available through the website may restrict access to NSF staff.  However, the author(s), title, and abstract will be included in a publicly accessible corpus.


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Note: Eligibility is not limited to US researchers or researchers in US institutions.
Your submittal of this paper and its inclusion in the SBE 2020 Corpus does not constitute approval of its content by NSF or the US Government.  The opinions and views expressed in the paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the NSF or the US Government. Please click to acknowledge that you have read, understood, and accepted these terms.

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