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CITP Luncheon Speaker Series: Victoria Stodden and David Levine – Basing Rules on Empirical Evidence: Transparency in Lawmaking

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Streaming Live:

Food and discussion begin at 12:30 pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, staff, and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Laura Cummings-Abdo at if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

The increasing use of empirical evidence in policy making is raising questions about rules that govern the use of such information. At the same time, empirical studies are influencing legislative analysis and history in ways that we are only beginning to ascertain. In this article, we seek to establish and address the baseline questions that arise in and about a modern legislative body assessing scientific evidence.

The issues surrounding scientific evidence in the policymaking arena are broad. For example, do studies used in the determination of laws and regulations need to be disclosed? Should they have minimum standards they need to meet, for example in scientific integrity or transparency? Evidence-based rule-making brings these issues sharply to the fore. We will discuss the current legal requirements (or lack thereof) when using empirical findings in policy making, using recent cases as examples, and propose some legislative guideposts.


David S. Levine is a visiting research collaborator at CITP, an associate professor at Elon University School of Law and an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. He is also the founder and host of Hearsay Culture on KZSU-FM (Stanford University), an information policy, intellectual property law and technology talk show that was named a top five podcast in the American Bar Association’s Blawg 100 of 2008. His research focuses on technology and intellectual property law and policy, specifically information flows and systems in lawmaking and regulatory processes and intellectual property law’s impact on public and private secrecy, transparency and accountability. He is also active in advocacy and policy arenas ranging from international trade law to hydraulic fracturing regulation.

Victoria Stodden is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and affiliated with Columbia University. She completed her PhD in statistics and her law degree at Stanford University.

Her research centers on the multifaceted problem of enabling reproducibility in computational science. This includes studying adequacy and robustness in replicated results, designing and implementing validation systems, developing standards of openness for data and code sharing, and resolving legal and policy barriers to disseminating reproducible research.