Print edition of EuroScientist special issue Looking East, focusing on Eastern European research and innovation.
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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?
Examples of men who are really interested beyond professional boundaries in one of their – often clearly younger – female colleagues are widespread. Typically, the men do not want to accept these women’s refusals and start harassing them. Often, the trouble is that the harassment is underhand. One difficulty is that there is a fine line between providing compliments and harassing someone, often due to cultural differences. Although women are mostly affected, men are also victims of sexual harassment.
As a country nearing 20 years of democracy, South Africa is still redressing massive historical inequity. This is glaringly obvious in its education system. With the right to a basic education for all enshrined in the country’s constitution, the limited supply of resources and infrastructure afforded to many schools and even some universities is not keeping pace with the high demand. Now open education is starting to make a difference.
The U.S. National Park Service made natural and cultural interpretation an important part of communication very early in the twentieth century. They lead hikes, conduct campfire programs, operate visitor centres and provide a friendly face for people less well acquainted with the resources. In more recent years the interest in interpretation has become important for the scientific community within other science-based agencies, such as the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.
About ten years ago the regional director of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) asked to meet with National Association for Interpretation (NAI) executive staff to discuss the application of interpretive services to his organization. He explained that the Republican Contract for America removed USGS funding from the United States budget in 1994 because many in Congress and the American public did not understand that this agency of scientists were responsible for much more than making maps. Fortunately, the funding was restored. USGS monitors vital resources all over the U.S. The USGS regional director expressed concern that being skilled scientists was not enough. They needed to become more skilled at helping Congress and citizens understand their diverse scientific roles and findings.