Readers’ comments on special ethics issue

Comments from our readers on the special issue on ethics, culture and values driving research are summarised in this post. We would like to encourage our readers to submit their comments directly at the end of each individual article. This issue is designed to stimulate discussions among our readers. We value your opinion and we believe that it is worth sharing it with others, so that we establish a forum for the European science community, stimulated by the community.

Sceptic says:

30 April, 2014 at 1:57 pm

An excellent issue – well done!

This is an area which has concerned me for some time. There is of course another dimension, that of proportionality.

There are so many attaining elevated academic qualifications with little commitment in real terms (if not by overtly fraudulent means) that such qualifications are becoming increasingly meaningless. In addition, the sheer number of people publishing works which are, at best, a re-hash and realignment of existing knowledge, has muddied the water in terms of published output and, in particular, the relative worth of much current research. One might argue that a very large proportion of so called ‘research’ is actually completely worthless – and yet this forms the basis for many qualifications.

Lastly, I have detected an increasing arrogance among contemporary academics which is contrary to the spirit of genuine research. This is most notable among the plethora of ‘professors’ surfacing now who quite obviously have little understanding of their own areas of expertise, let alone a wider scientific sympathy.

This reality is painting a bad picture of science which, in turn, masks those who ARE genuinely undertaking original research. Unfortunately, we live in an age of pretence which, sadly, has extended into academia.

I hope that you follow this issue up with more thoughts on the ethics within academia and the place of science in the 21st century.

Best wishes,

Sceptic

Peter Davis says:

7 May, 2014 at 2:30 pm

At the current rate, the future does not bode well for convincing people of the efficacy of science when increasing doubts about the scientific community’s lack of rigour and scrutiny may be conflated with the scientific method itself as a reliable tool for measuring a truer picture of physical reality, to put aside its inherent limits for the moment.

Christian Caron says:

9 May, 2014 at 9:37 am

By personal inclination (mild pessimism, that is….) I liked most the overarching article by Corredoira in this special issue, the rest dealing merely with various “minor details” of this obvious twilight.

Btw. It is my favorite resolution of the Fermi paradox: basically, humanity reached already the level where knowledge and true science is increasingly and irrevocably confused with information garbage, in which we will all drown shortly, a few decades before we can possibly reach the level of a spacefaring species. Without having to invoke necessarily self-destruction, my guess is that there is no species that can keep “intelligent/scientific” long enough to reach this state!

Luc Marti commented on our Facebook page on the Shinking humans story:

Even if I’m a strong believer of art and science commons, I had never though about that one: art can be a tool to increase scientifics awareness and future reflexions on: is the science they are doing will be more beneficial or more destructive. I know the reply from scientists: we are not responsible of what politics will do with our science.

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