Basic research = curiosity and freedom?
Basic research is about finding new knowledge, but the concept has several definitions, and the approach differs between different scientific fields. Mats Benner, professor of research policy, explains what basic research is, and why so few researchers stretch their wings these days.
Small teams create more disruptive research
Small research teams produce disruptive research at a greater rate. Large groups tend to develop existing ideas. This is shown in a study published in Nature by US researchers. But the question why small groups are better at disruptive research remains unanswered.
Equality data a sensitive issue in academia
Is it OK for researchers to map persons’ ethnicity or skin colour? The issue of equality data arouses strong feelings in the research community.
Lack of academic freedom when politicians want to control research
New research institutions are employing loyal employees who lack academic qualifications in Hungary. And the government is appointing financial supervisors at the universities. The aim is to get rid of free-thinking researchers, asserts Andrea Petö, a professor of Gender Studies in Budapest. In Sweden, too, political forces that question certain research are appearing.
Superheroes help research communicators
As a nerd, one wants to find out everything there is to know in one’s field, such as the science behind zombies, aliens and superheroes. This drive is something that teachers and research communicators should use more, argues Raychelle Burks, a chemistry researcher at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
Best review prize leads to higher status
Peer review – collegial scrutiny of scientific articles – is a cornerstone of academic publishing. Yet the work is usually unpaid, and is also carried out anonymously. Now the Swedish editors of an international journal have instituted a prize to celebrate the best review of the year.