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.

Navigating SSH research integrity straits: between Scylla and Charybdis

Is social sciences and humanity (SSH) research, by nature, the domain of blatant misconduct? Drawing the line between acceptable and contemptible behaviour is a much more complicated matter in the SSH than in the other sciences. It may require a revision of the principles governing research to provide a solid basis for enforcing good practices. In this opinion piece, Ioana Galleron, who is chair of the European Network for Research Evaluation in Social Sciences and Humanities (ENRESSH), an European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action, shares her perspective on research integrity.

Callinicus: the importance of scientists, knowledge, and innovation

The role that scientific advances and technological innovations play on the fate of civilisations is illustrated by numerous examples, including food-related developments (improved species in agriculture and livestock), health (hygiene and the discovery of antibiotics), and lifestyle (popularisation of the internet). However, none of these examples triggers immediate effects on the nation’s evolution as those innovations related to military technology.

Does mobility boost early scientific careers?

Young scientists are expected to change country and jobs every few years on average to get a chance to progress their academic career. Mobility in science stems from a long tradition. It is favoured for bringing very enriching experiences. But post docs and their scientific work do not always benefit from mobility. Here, EuroScientist looks into how being on the move every few years affects the life of researchers and looks at ways of enhancing work/life balance.

When privacy-bound research pays for open science

Thanks to the growing uberisation of science, opportunities to participate in world class research could soon no longer be limited to researchers in well-funded labs. According to an opinion piece by Barend Mons, professor at the Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands, technology has now made it possible to distribute part of the interpretation of scientific results across a geographically widespread work force, to include scientists from developing countries. In the first of a two-part contribution, he also envisions that a new business model allocating free access to those who share, and charging a premium to those who don’t, could soon disrupt research and innovation and further open science.