Trusting science in an age of distrust

The trend against Experts and a public loss of trust in science have recently made headlines. For example, they translated as tweets questioning man-made climate change by the current US president. Or statements such as ‘I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts’ by Bristish politician Michael Gove during the Brexit campaign. But is such a shift in public attitudes towards science actually taking place? And if so, who exactly has lost trust in whom? In this opinion piece, the results of three national surveys on public perception and trust in science from Germany, Sweden and Switzerland are outlined and give us some answers. It makes for some fascinating reading! Read more [...]
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Shrinking the digital divide

Computers and digital technologies are being incorporated into all aspects of life. Yet not everyone is able to seamlessly use the web, computers, tablets, smart-phones, electronic ticket machines and even some digital-based home appliances. This is particularly true for those who experience disability, literacy, digital literacy or ageing-related barriers to accessing information and communication technologies (ICT). We need to ensure that all of us are able to operate these digital technologies or we will exclude those who cannot from all these aspects of our life. Now, a new initiative, called Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure, seeks to set up an open development community to solve this problem. Read more [...]
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Shawn Jensen: GDPR is about giving citizens control over personal data

In this exclusive interview with Shawn Jensen, CEO of data privacy company Profila, EuroScientist editor finds out about the implications of the regulations for citizens and for researchers. Part of the discussion discusses the ins and out of giving consent, in an era where any organisations holding data is required to ensure that individual data is used appropriately. Read more [...]
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Media in the age of Artificial Intelligence

On 21st November 2017, the European Parliament Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) office hosted its annual lecture, chaired by Eva KAILI, MEP and STOA Chair and introduced by Carlos MOEDAS, European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation. The Keynote Lecture: How AI and algorithms manage flows of information was delivered by  Nello Cristianini, professor of Artificial Intelligence, at the University of Bristol, UK. Read more [...]
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Claudius Gros: Increased Government’s reactivity can mitigate social instability

In this exclusive interview, EuroScientist Editor, Sabine Louët, speaks with German physicist Claudius Gros about the insights that complex systems bring into our society, which help in understanding their deficiencies in terms of how decisions are made. Gros’ analysis is based on the observation that citizens’ opinions—supported by mobile phones and internet technology—are now forming faster than ever before, relative to the time scale of policy decision making. This suggests the need to introduce necessary changes in the modes of governance, to enhance the reactivity of policy decisions, as means to keep our democratic societies steady. These findings have potential implications for an à la carte EU membership. Read more [...]
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Ever so slow maturation for the Open Access sector

The adoption rate of open access is not as quick as its promoters would like it to be. Find out more about the snapshot of the latest trend in the OA sector as expert Dan Pollock, from consultancy Delta Think, explains how the market has evolved since OA was first introduced 17 years ago. The lessons learned from this field are that, it may not only be down to funders to push the OA agenda and that scientists themselves a role to play if they wish to see its wider adoption. Read more [...]
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Quality check on the newer UK universities

The UK University league tables do not use scientific contribution as a core value of university competition at national level. To assess the relative performance of the newer UK universities created after 1992, following a government reform graduating technical colleagues to the status of universities, can be done by looking at their scientific output. In this article, Solomon Habtemariam, principal lecturer and leader of Pharmacognosy Research laboratories at the University of Greenwich, UK, assesses the scientific publication output, 25 years after the creation of these newer universities. This makes for a sobering reading to any other European countries who have brought newer universities on stream. Read more [...]
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The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic. Read more [...]
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Heightened multi-lateral collaboration fever as Brexit mitigating strategy

Too much is at stakes in European science for people managing research—particularly in the UK—to leave it up to politicians to determine their future. Brexit or no Brexit, there are signs that further integration of the UK scientific activities into the European research fabric is underway. Indeed, universities across the UK are establishing new partnership deals in education and research with European and Commonwealth universities. Whether this move will allow UK research institutions to remain attractive to European collaborators remains to be seen. Read more [...]
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Slumber science

Our biological clock made the news headlines, recently. Earlier this month, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to a trio of American scientists – Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, Michael W. Young – for their work on the topic. The announcement has, thus, triggered a renewed interest for our sleep patterns. Read more [...]
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Fake news: unobservant audiences are easily swayed

Fake news is everywhere. Science-related pseudo facts have taken over the gossip sites and social media. And we are only at the beginning of an uphill battle to set the record straight. In this contribution, Melissa Hoover, shares her investigation on how people's response to fake news makes it easier for such inaccurate stories to propagate at a rate that is way more important than fact-based news. And here is why... Read more [...]
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European science conversations by the community, for the community