Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What is good science?

02.03.2009
Scientific knowledge is important in today's knowledge society.

Research is the guarantor of the quality of knowledge, though it is often not clear how scientific research guarantees the reliability of knowledge. How different can scientific ideals be, and how alike are they despite everything? In her dissertation, the historian of ideas Rangnar Nilsson, University of Gothenburg - Göteborg -, Sweden, examines what fits within the frames of the domains of authorised scientific knowledge.

The author of the dissertation has compared the way researchers in three different disciplines describe and assess quality within their own disciplines. The disciplines studied are political science, literature studies and physics. The aim is to investigate how the internal view on the quality and legitimacy of research and science varies within the research communities and how it can be linked to different conditions of the scientific activity.

The study is based on judgements of what constitutes good and bad science and research in statements of opinions written by subject experts on the work submitted as qualifications by candidates for academic positions. It covers two periods between 1950 and 1995. This allows similarities and differences between the subjects as well as changes and constant features over time to be analysed.

In the study, the variation in researchers' conceptions and descriptions of their own science is linked to some internal conditions such as which research objects are studied and the conditions they place on the work.

Rangnar Nilsson establishes that the nature of the objects seems to be able to influence the aim towards internationalisation or to reaching out to the public with their work and results.

The physicists consider internationally presented research to be better and more credible, while the literature researchers are much more interested in the researchers' efforts to disseminate their research to the general public in different ways. This difference may be linked to the conditions of the two research areas. The physicians' research objects are equally accessible to researchers around the world, and in time equally inaccessible to the public around the world. This may have contributed to the greater internationalisation of physics (and possibly other areas of natural science). The literature researchers' objects, however, are easier to share with the Swedish general public, as the subject has traditionally devoted itself more to Swedish than foreign literature.

Political science shows a clear shift towards greater interest, over time, in internationalised research. In internal quality evaluations, however, there is little interest in the candidates' contacts with the surrounding community. This is despite the fact that political scientists so often seem to appear in media in different contexts, and that their research has come to deal with topical political processes and events to a high degree. In their intra-disciplinary evaluations, political scientists are seen as focusing much more closely on their own research community than any of the other disciplines. Maybe this is because the social sciences are relatively young disciplines in which clearly professionalised researchers have set the agenda from the start.

This makes it clear in the dissertation that different factors influence the researchers' own view on the scientific activity and their own work.

Title of dissertation: *Good science: How researchers' conceptions of science expressed in peer review documents change in three different disciplines *
The public defence will take place on Friday, 6 March 2009 at 10 am.
Place: Lilla hörsalen, Humanisten, Renströmsgatan 6, Gothenburg, Sweden Faculty examiner: Professor Thomas Kaiserfeld, KTH, Stockholm
Cost of dissertation: 250 SEK. It is available to order from the University of Gothenburg Library, email: acta@ub.gu.se
For more information, contact Rangnar Nilsson, tel (work) +46 (0) 31-786
58 87 or email: rangnar.nilsson@idehist.gu.se
Press release: Barbro Ryder Liljegren
Tel +46 (0)31-786 48 65
Email: barbro.ryder@hum.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.ub.gu.se
http://gupea.ub.gu.se/dspace/handle/2077/19396

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>