Data journalism has the potential to make reporting on scientific activities and innovation more accountable to society. In this article and podcast, EuroScientist covers the 2016 Data Journalism Award, recently held in Vienna, Austria. Find out more about the winning entries from Spain, Peru and the USA. In these projects, data analysis has helped uncover the varying cost of medicines across borders, the environmental and social impact of commodity mining and the extend of privacy loss due to US surveillance planes, respectively. These examples show how data journalism has the potential to bring scientific analysis to the practice of journalism, ultimately leading to more accountability and transparency in society.
Imagine what would happen if the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in the referendum of the 23rd June 2016? To give our readers a better idea of the consequences of the Brexit for the country’s scientists, EuroScientist has commissioned UK technology journalist Paul Hill to write a fictional day in the life of a British academic post-Brexit. This gives food for thought on the factors influencing the position of Europe’s centre of gravity in research.
Recent changes in the political landscape in Northern Europe have brought some new policies that are less supportive of science and education than previously. This is a major shift for Denmark and Finland, which have until now invested 3% of GPD in research and development. Time will tell whether such research and education cuts are a mere bleep on these countries record, or whether they will bear long-term consequences.
Climate change is on the mind of many scientists, beyond experts in the field. It is where science diplomacy has been at work in the month preceding the climate change conference, COP21, opening in Paris on 30th November 2015. But does science diplomacy make a difference? EuroScientist talks to various experts in the field and analyses the likely outcome of such talks.
The urgency of the European refugee crisis sharply contrasts with the lack of ready-made policy response. So what do migration scholars have to say about it? In this insightful piece, EuroScientist pinpoints key-pieces of evidence that may help to inform a better policy while debunking xenophobic myths.
The ongoing opposition between the scientific community and science publishers is evolving. The latter have tarnished their reputation on the count of greed and inability to give back to the community. Now, however, grassroots innovators and legacy publishers have started to develop tech-centric solutions to better serve the community. These could soon make a noticeable difference to the scientific process itself and bring tangible benefits to scientists. Time will tell whether the tide will turn and trust between the protagonists will return.
Nanotechologies are the perfect case study to identify lobbying forces at work in the regulatory process in Brussels. Compulsory labelling or the implementation of a register for products containing nanotech components have been at the centre of the debate spreading over an inordinately long time. But such decisions will only come at the end of a protracted debate between the European Commission, industry, consumer representatives and environment protection organisations. In the end, evidence-base and the precautionary principle may not be the base for political decisions at the EU level.
“Sciences en Marche” experiences a new kind of demonstration: during 3 weeks, from September 26th to October 18th, researchers, faculty members, technical staff and all people concerned by the future of sciences in France will relay from all main French town toward Paris with bicycles.
As waves of researchers’ protest are about to invade the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid, among others, there is a clear sense of déjà vu in these white coats with large signs walking the avenues of European capitals. What is new, however, is that these protests on longer follow a logic of being centred around national territories. They have become supra-national and aim to target the central power in Brussels as much as national governments.
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Bad behaviour is omnipresent in science. It encompasses everything from outright scientific fraud, such as falsifying data, to other misconducts like cherry-picking data, favourable-looking images and graphs, and drawing conclusions that are not backed up by the actual facts. Overall, it matters more serious than keeping a sloppy lab notebook that no-one else can follow. This raises the deeper question: what drives scientists to behave in such a way?
Handwritten correspondence with Albert Einstein, early x-rays and videos of 1930s operating theatres are among the documents brought together by the European Library in a virtual exhibition entitled Science & Machines – Scientific and technological development since 1800. This virtual exhibition brings testimonies to some of our own basic beliefs in the possibility of a better world to be constructed by man and make us reflect on the path taken by Western society and the future which may be in store.