Free to Think: Attacks on Scholars, Scientists threaten Societies Everywhere

Scholars at Risk’s latest Free to Think 2019 report describes the contours of a global phenomenon of attacks on higher education that impacts scientists everywhere. These attacks hamper scientific progress across the globe and challenge everyone’s right to think and share ideas. Given the gravity of this phenomenon, the report sets out tangible actions stakeholders including students, universities, faculty, and scientific associations can take to respond.

Integrity is not a component of ethics, integrity is much more

Academic and research integrity cannot be a side project or an afterthought. Integrity and ethics must be central to everything we do and every decision we make. We must work to ensure that we are putting integrity at the forefront of our mission and operations. To achieve objectives mentioned it requests to respect the framework of integrity policies, processes and procedures at all institutional levels. Integrity policies, processes and procedures are an inseparable and significant part of the whole set of functions/activities within an institution that work together for the aim of the institution.

The emerging trends of Nobel Prizes in science

This article reviews the Nobel history since inception which shows that the Prizes in science conferred on individuals in the first 50 years are shifting to the Prizes being shared. It is,in part, because the science has become more complex, collaborative, expansive, and expensive. With the critical need for teamwork to tackle Big Science, we recommend that the policy of “no more than three” sharing the Prize be loosened on case by case basis and the nomination be made open for scientific organisations. We also suggest concrete steps for improving the gender gap among the Nobel Laureates. This necessitates proactive nominations of Nobel worthy work done by women and making structural changes in Nobel committees toward better gender ratio. Finally, our analysis shows that the U.S. is emerging as a Nobel Super Power leading to a divide not only with European countries but the world at large.

A gender scholar’s visit to ESOF 2018: she came, she saw, she ranted

In this theory-informed auto-ethnographic account, I relate my experience of participating in the EuroScience Open Forum Conference 2018 (ESOF). Gender equality was certainly on the agenda at ESOF, however, I argue that the manner in which gender equality was addressed at the conference is not only problematic but potentially counter-productive to the intended purpose of promoting women in research careers. If we keep 1) essentialising a presumed lack of confidence to women, 2) omitting men’s role in the reproduction of gender hierarchies in research from equality discussions, and 3) excluding gender scholars’ expertise from gender equality debates, I fear that women’s equal participation in academic research and leadership will remain a distant prospect in the future still.

How do we get young scientists to communicate science?

In the words of one of the 2017 PhD European Young Researcher Award winners, a scientist’s life often means “no fixed working hours, being switched on always, and yet getting paid only when you have a grant or a scholarship.” This opinion piece by Satyajit Rout from Editage, a science communication services company that supports researchers and institutions drive real-world scientific impact, delves into the challenges facing young scientists and suggests what could be done to change the status quo.

Homo scientificus europaeus: Giving European scientists back their voice

Political populism, with its accompanying “fake news” and pseudoscience, leaves scientists distraught. But maybe scientific research itself needs a reboot. Research can no longer win public funding on the mere promise of a possible contribution to society. Read more […]

Scientific advice for politics: The European way

Politics is not an exact science: moral choices, traditions, communication and many other aspects play important roles. But working on politics without caring for scientific evidence is almost certainly a recipe for failure. In the last few years, the European Union has struggled to find its own, formal model for conveying scholarly knowledge in its policies. After a tangled attempt to concentrate this task into a single Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA), the Commission opted in 2015 for a much more complex Scientific Advisory Mechanism (SAM). The High Level Group at the top of the mechanism was appointed in November 2015. The seven prominent scholars that form the committee discuss their first year and a half of work in a debate at the European Conference for Science Journalists, taking place in June in Copenhagen, Denmark.