Learning Sciences of Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, 6775 Readings

Archive for the ‘Scientists’ Category

Mapping social responsibility in science

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The vast majority of scientists want their research to be of use to society. They just disagree on how much society should interfere with what it is they study, and how they carry out their research,” says Glerup, who is working on a PhD project on scientific sociology at the Copenhagen Business School. Her research has shown that there are two different ideologies when it comes to research and public utility in the scientific community:

  • An ideology of internal control – the researchers know how the world works, so they are in a good position to find out how it should be. Therefore, they are ideally placed to judge about the public utility of their research.
  • An ideology of external control – social actors, such as politicians and organisations, know what is best for society, and this makes them ideally placed to determine what research should be done and how.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Scientists must spearhead ethical use of big data

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The recent revelation that the National Security Agency collects the personal data of United States citizens, allies and enemies alike has broken the traditional model governing the bond between science and society. Most breakthrough technologies have dual uses. Think of atomic energy and the nuclear bomb or genetic engineering and biological weapons.

Let’s face it: Powered by the right type of Big Data, data mining is a weapon. It can be just as harmful, with long-term toxicity, as an atomic bomb. It poisonstrust, straining everything from human relations to political alliances and free trade. And when it is a weapon, it should be treated like a weapon.

To repair the damage already done, we researchers, with a keen understanding of the promise and the limits of our trade, must work for a world that uses science in an ethical manner. We can look at the three pillars of nuclear nonproliferation as a model for going forward. We can achieve this only in alliance with the society at large, together amending universal human rights with the right to data ownership and the right of safe passage.  If we scientists stay silent, we all risk becoming digitally enslaved.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Ethics, Science, Scientists

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Optimism is a sine qua non for scientists

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Before any appreciation of the ability of science to improve society or knowledge of the power of the scientific method, there is the undiluted thrill of trying to understand the world that surrounds us. As children we constantly ask “how” and “why”, and scientists are those individuals who never grow out of the habit. Also like children, scientists are sustained by the dogged hope that, eventually, those questions will be answered. Hope is built upon optimism, enthusiasm and perhaps a certain level of naivety. These are personality traits we seldom link to a successful career in science, yet I would argue that they play an important and, in some cases, a vital role in sustaining scientific enquiry.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 7, 2013 at 7:23 am

Posted in Science, Scientists

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ORCID – Connecting Research and Researchers

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ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-based effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. ORCID is unique in its ability to reach across disciplines, research sectors, and national boundaries and in its cooperation with other identifier systems. ORCID works with the research community to identify opportunities for integrating ORCID identifiers in key workflows, such as research profile maintenance, manuscript submissions, grant applications, and patent applications.

ORCID provides two core functions: (1) a registry to obtain a unique identifier and manage a record of activities, and (2) APIs that support system-to-system communication and authentication. ORCID makes its code available under an open source license, and will post an annual public data file under a CCO waiver for free download.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

Global Brain Migration and Scientific Research

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Today’s shifting R&D landscape, while vastly different from the days of such early pioneers as da Vinci and Newton, shows that migration of scientific talent, both into and out of the country, ultimately generates the fresh ideas that lead to innovative, high impact, scientific outcomes. While a rising Asia—namely India, South Korea, and especially China—is gaining traction as an emerging research power, the United States still leads the world in measures of scientific impact by a substantial margin. This is partly due to America also remaining by far the leading destination for research scientists emigrating from other countries. Researchers in the European Union (EU) typically migrate within other EU member countries, but do so at higher rates than APAC (Asia/Pacific) or US researchers. On a per capita basis, Northern EU countries are extremely productive contributors of high quality papers.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

September 13, 2012 at 11:19 am

Posted in Migration, Scientists

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What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?

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Every year for more than a decade, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman has been asking the era’s greatest thinkers a single annual question, designed to illuminate some important aspect of how we understand the world. In 2010, he asked how the Internet is changing the way we think. In 2011, with the help of psycholinguist Steven Pinker and legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman, he posed an even grander question: What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? The answers, featuring a wealth of influential scientists, authors, and thought-architects, were recently released in This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking — a formidable anthology of short essays by 151 of our time’s biggest thinkers on subjects as diverse as the power of networks, cognitive humility, the paradoxes of daydreaming, information flow, collective intelligence, and a dizzying, mind-expanding range in between. Together, they construct a powerful toolkit of meta-cognition — a new way to think about thinking itself.

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Read also: This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Examining How Scientists Think

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Nancy J. Nersessian‘s research is driven by the question “How do scientists think?” Nersessian’s research focuses on how the cognitive and learning practices of scientists and engineers lead to creative and innovative outcomes. She is a Regents’ Professor of Cognitive Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology with joint appointments in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts School of Public Policy and the College of Computing School of Interactive Computing.

Her research supports the insight that scientists think not only with ideas, but also with the artifacts they create to investigate nature. Nersessian is one of the pioneers of the interdisciplinary field of cognitive studies of science and technology, which comprises psychologists, philosophers of science, artificial intelligence researchers and cognitive anthropologists.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Scientists, Thinking

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