Designing antivirus for nuclear power plants to fend off cyber-terrorism

In 2008, it was the first time that a software virus replicating the automatic process control system of a nuclear facility was recorded. In this opinion piece, Anastasia Tolstaya, an engineer at the Institute for Cyber-Intelligence Systems, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, in the Russian Federation, explores what can be done to prevent exposing the safety of nuclear plants, in the case of a cyber attack. Finding solutions, she argues, is not trivial.

Self-organised scientific crowds to remedy research bureaucracy

In an era where research bureaucracy is the biggest burden bestowed upon scientists, some are seeking practical solutions. Inspired by the science of complex networks, new ways of harnessing the wisdom of the scientific community are emerging. This leads to new decision-making mechanisms to allocated the limited amount of resources, which is bypassing the biggest plague affecting the research endeavour. Michele Catanzaro investigates out-of-the-box solutions to this bureaucratic conundrum for Euroscientist.

Robo Sapiens: a new legal person on the horizon?

The legal implications of the consequences of the actions of robots endowed with artificial intelligence are currently the object of discussion at the European Parliament. In this opinion piece, Orsolya Zara, legal and policy advisor to an MEP at the European Parliament, in Brussels, provides some insights into changes pertaining to robots liability that may need to be implemented in civil law.

From Uber to OpenStreetCab: how data shifts the power back to users

Services like Uber are challenging traditional sectors such as the taxi industry. However, they may charge more than traditional taxis at time of high-demand. To counter this phenomenon, data analysis could bring full transparency in relation to taxi pricing by delivering a head-to-head comparison of all available taxis types. In this opinion piece, Anastasios Noulas, lecturer at the Data Science Institute at Lancaster University, UK, and OpenStreetCab co-founder, shares his experience of how data-driven solutions can increase transparency in tech-disrupted industries and ultimately provide better value for policy makers from publicly available data.

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Time to recognise the influence of gender on research outcomes

The League of European Research Universities, LERU , launches today, 16th September 2015, a new report showing how Gendered Research and Innovation (GRI) can foster new knowledge and solutions to global challenges. And such challenges are not minor. Indeed, research failing to account for sex and gender specificities can put lives at risk and be costly. Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment is a US/EU initiative whose goal is to explore how gender analysis can open doors to discovery. Meanwhile, international, collaborations supported by the European Commission and the US National Science Foundation developed state-of-the art methods for sex and gender research.

The day when science is truly open

One day, we can imagine that science will truly be open. Before we reach that stage, however, a number of issues have to be tackled. Particularly, when it comes to transparency, more suitable evaluation giving adequate credit for researchers involved in contributing to all aspects of the scientific process, most of which were unaccounted for until now, and optimum use of the availability of very large sets of data. Ultimately, life as a scientist in the era of web 2.0 is bound to change beyond recognition.

The good scientist

The global professionalisation of science was initiated in the 20th century. It has resulted in the creation of the largest scientific community, the most widespread research facilities and in the widest dissemination of scientific knowledge to date. This may, at first sight, appear to be very positive news for science. Yet, the academic population grew extraordinary fast, in the past forty years.

Special issue on alternative research funding – Print Edition

This post is designed to allow our readers to convert the full issue into a single PDF file, that can be read offline or in print. We are introducing such printer and tablet-ready version of the EuroScientist to respond to the expectations of our readers, who have expressed the need to access the magazine when they are not connected to the internet, so that they can read it at their leisure, while travelling for example. As a participatory magazine, we encourage you, our readers, to provide further feedback so that we can make the magazine more accessible and relevant to you.

Funding policy tools: up for revamping

The research ecosystem is in constant evolution. Funding policy tools, however, have not evolved as fast as the research activity itself. At the macroscopic scale, the policy shaping the way research funding is allocated could be improved by gaining more precise evidence-base of the potential effect of policy choices in achieving desired research objectives. Indeed, the science underpinning the research funding policy—also known as the science of science policy—is in infancy.

Digitally-enhanced research has yet to become more collaborative

Sharing practices build the essence of science. In the process they generate two important “Rs” for scientists: recognition and reputation. This trend has been exacerbated by an increase scientific activity. This means they have the potential for enhancing the sharing practices associated with the scientific endeavour. Ultimately, this trend will also have an impact on the way research is translated into innovation, albeit at the cost of enhanced collaboration and at the detriment of competition.