Friday, 30 May 2014

Slow Science

When the Slow Movement started in 1989 with the creation of the Slow Food organization — to protest the opening of a McDonald's in Rome — its objectives were to promote quality over speed, to defend cultural diversity and to challenge the ever-increasing pace of our lives. Since then, the concept has spread and expanded to such fields as traveling, designing ... and science. / LE TEMPS

Slow science supporters criticize the pressure to publish as many studies as possible in scientific journals. Instead, they demand more time to carry out their research and publish their work says a 2010 one-page document entitled "The Slow Science Manifesto," published online by a group of anonymous Berlin-based researchers.
"We do need time to think," it reads. "We do need time to digest. We cannot continuously tell you what our science means, what it will be good for, because we simply don't know yet. Science needs time. Bear with us, while we think."
Isabelle Stengers, philosopher at the Free University of Brussels and co-author of the book Another Science is Possible! Manifesto for a Slowing Down of Sciences, explained at a recent lecture that the manifesto ideas are relatively simple. "But they offer the advantage of creating a consensus in which scientists who find their working conditions painful recognize themselves," she said. 
"The slowness demanded by supporters of slow science is also necessary to what I call 'friction' — that is to say, exchanges with other fields and, more generally, with society," Isabelle Stengers says. She says that researchers are increasingly cut off from the rest of the world, and they have become so ultra-specialized that there is now a lack of imagination.
"The golden age during which scientists could think at leisure, without worrying about anything other than their work has in fact never existed, because they always had to look for funding," sas Alain Kaufman, who leads the Science-Society Interface at the University of Lausanne. "So there's no point in being nostalgic. We must nonetheless denounce the speed pathologies and especially the tyranny of the impact factor."

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