Tag Archives: Research

In praise of solitude in science

Solitude often holds negative connotations. Yet, it is not necessarily a bad thing for scientists. Particularly in an hyper-connected work environment, where team collaboration and instant communications sometimes act like a smokescreen to hide the deep meaning of what scientists individual journey entails. In this deep personal reflection, Francisco Azuaje, senior researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Health, helps us look at the true benefit of solitude in science. Read more [...]

Italian scientists protest against budget cuts, crocodile tears included

In the successful Italian comedy, Smetto quando voglio (I can quit whenever I want), a group of young and talented scholars with no career perspective turns into a successful drug-dealing mob. The story is imaginary—a surreal rendition of Breaking Bad—but it is also the portrait of Italian academia. There, the shortage of funds, baronies, and scant meritocracy hamper the careers of many endowed scientists. This fiction is not that far from reality. Now, as an attempt to change their working conditions, Italian researchers are planning a protest movement in October, to take a stand against budget cuts and political apathy. There is no doubt that such movement is justified, but there is also a need for academics to run their universities better. Read more [...]

French scientists get on their bikes for research

French research is in trouble. A protest movement has arisen from the ranks of research centres and universities to protest against what French scientists consider a progressive assault on research funding, jobs and autonomy by successive French administrations. Research activists from Montpellier have devised a very French response to this problem: marching out on the street—albeit this time with a twist. From the 27th September 2014, the grassroots movement Sciences en Marche, will see researchers march on Paris. They are planning to arrive in the French capital on 18th October, having bicycled in stages from labs all over France. Read more [...]

Pablo Echenique-Robba, Eurodeputy, Podemos

Pablo Echenique-Robba stared his political career back in January 2014. Until then, his day job was to work as a physicist for the public research agency CSIC, working, among others of the issue of proteins folding. He is involved in a citizen democracy movement, called Podemos. Echenique shares his view on science in Spain and in Europe in an exclusive interview to EuroScientist. Read more [...]

Publish or perish: an incitement to fraudulence

More than 120 papers have been withdrawn from subscription databases of two high-profile publishers, IEEE and Springer, because they were computer generated thanks to the SCIgen software designed to generate random computer science research papers. The trouble is that they had no meaning at all. All of them were labelled as peer reviewed and all of them were published in proceedings of actual conferences. Read more [...]

Is the culture of research encouraging good science?

A quick look at the back catalogue of the EuroScientist provides an illustration of the wide range of issues that affect the working lives of scientists today. Previous articles have covered research evaluation, the open access movement, career structures and responsible innovation, among many others. These issues are often dealt with individually—and rightly so given their complexity. But considered as a whole, they help to make up a culture. And scientists must work within this culture to do what they set out to do: usually, to produce high quality, ethical research that is of benefit to society. Read more [...]

Have we reached the twilight of the fundamental science era?

History reveals a succession of many dawns and twilights, in different facets of human activity. Looking at the past, we can date and understand the reasons for the birth of science, specifically fundamental science. However, we do not know precisely when its twilight will take place. Nevertheless, clues of the advent of such twilight are already in the air. This article presents the underlying rationale suggesting that we are now past the golden age of pure science, and how we need to accommodate our research to this new era. Read more [...]

Does media coverage of research misconduct affect public confidence in science?

The SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg conducts annual surveys of the Swedish public. It explores, among other things, media consumption, confidence in societal institutions and different professional groups. Since 2002, an independent and influential Swedish non-profit membership organisation that works to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the public called Vetenskap & Allmänhet—which stands for Public and Science—has added a section to the SOM survey to study public confidence in science and scientists. The results of a study, which examines the hypothesis that media reports of research misconduct will have an impact on public confidence in science and scientists, are about to be uncovered at the ESOF 2014 conference, in June, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read more [...]

Can national culture influence success in open innovation?

Cultural differences among nations are not to be taken lightly. Especially, when it comes to innovation. A debate related to the influence of culture on innovation started in the 1980s’. We now live in a world where globalisation and international collaboration increasingly shape research and innovation. It is still difficult to gauge how the advent of open innovation will be influenced by national cultures. Even though the jury is still out on this debate, one thing is certain: open innovation is not happening in a vacuum. Read more [...]