Bold ideas and critical thoughts on science.

The Blog Journal

This blog is not about actual elephants. Sorry. It is about science. We are passionate about science and made a blog about it. But we are not covering the latest findings in elementary particle physics or essays on Luhmann’s system theory. This blog is about those problems in science that everyone sees but nobody talks about: The journal system, the idiocy of authorship, citation cartels, career chances for young or female researchers. You name it. Looked at it this way, this blog is about elephants after all. Elephants in the lab. One by one we will spot these elephants and write about them and as we go along, you are invited to participate in this great science safari. And: Every post on this blog is actually citable! We make this possible by giving each entry a separate DOI. Did you spot an elephant in the wild? Do you have questions or recommendations?

Editorial Team



Benedikt Fecher is heading the research project Open Science and the programme ‘Knowledge & Society’ at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. The question that keeps him busy at night: What is the impact of research?



Christian Kobsda is an associate researcher in the programme ‘Knowledge & Society’ at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. He works as head of the Berlin office at the Max Planck Society. Before that he was senior political consultant to the President of the Leibniz Association as well as Executive Manager of the Global Learing Council for several years. Before joining the Leibniz Association, Christian dealt with Industry 4.0 and Smart Services at acatech and was scientific advisor to the innovation dialogue of the German Federal Chancellor. He spends his sleepless nights thinking about: scientific policy advice, digital innovation and prospective travel destinations.



Martin Schmidt is an agricultural scientist by training. He is an associate researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in the programme ‘Knowledge & Society’. and holds a PhD in environmental modelling. He works a data scientist and consultant. Beyond his interest in the functioning of science, he devotes himself to the people behind it as former spokesperson of the doctoral researchers in the Leibniz Association and co-founder of the biggest network of doctoral researchers in Germany. If he has not fallen asleep he thinks about the integrity of science.



Nataliia Sokolovska is a researcher at the programme ‘Knowledge & Society’. at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). She has a background in international relations and worked for several years in journalism and PR. What keeps her up at night is the question of how knowledge and innovations can be transmitted on an international scale.



Teresa Völker is an associate researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in the programme ‘Knowledge & Society’ and does her PhD in a project on political radicalization and protest at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. What keeps her up at night is how scientists can engage with the public and empower citizens by communicating research findings, giving information access and sharing knowledge.  



Philip Nebe is working in the department of Knowledge & Society at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. He is currently studying sociology at Technical University Berlin, where he also graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. In his bachelor thesis he worked on voter participation of  the educationally disadvantaged. The question of how equal conditions for scientists can be achieved in order to enable good scientific practices keeps him busy from sleeping.


Sascha is in the middle of his master’s degree and a student at the Institute for Sociology of the TU-Berlin. During his bachelor’s degree he specialized in transnational inequalities and the uprising of mass movements via social media. His Bachelor thesis shed a light on the satisfaction of sociology students since the Bologna-process to identify possible changes in the university system like the highly discussed “Verschulung” (meaning “school-like-teaching”) of Humanities. This was done via qualitative and quantitative methods. Before he joined the FP3 Team on the IMPaQT-Project at HIIG, he worked for three years as a student assistant at the Institute for medical Sociology and Rehabilitation of Charitè Berlin.


Rebecca Kahn is a Digital Humanities scholar, with a focus on linked data, ontologies and historical sources. Her PhD investigated the interplay of digitisation and identity in the British Museum, and as an Associate Researcher at the HIIG, she works on ways to model historical topics, such as time, space, people and places in digital knowledge representations. At night, she stays awake worrying about how make museums useful, accessible and usable on the Internet.



Elias studies Social Sciences at the Humboldt-University in Berlin, where he specializes in legislative studies and party behavior. Furthermore, he holds positions as a research assistant at both the chair of Comparative Political Behavior at Humboldt University Berlin and the chair of Political Sociology & Methods at the University of Greifswald.




Bronwen Deacon is a researcher at the programme ‘Knowledge & Society’ at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). She has a background in Communication Studies and focuses now on Organizational Studies and Higher Education Research. Her constant companions are questions of how universities and university teaching will develop in the future in the context of digitization.



Melissa Laufer is a senior researcher in the research programme ‘Knowledge & Society’ at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. She is interested in exploring change processes at universities and how stakeholders respond and adapt to change. Questions about academic culture and the socialization of early-career academics keep her up at night.



Rebecca Winkels is the Head of Strategic Communication and a Project Leader at Wissenschaft im Dialog. She has a Bachelor in Biology and a Master in Science Journalism and is currently doing a PhD in Science Communication at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. Before joining Wissenschaft im Dialog Rebecca worked as a press officer for the Helmholtz Association. She spends her sleepless nights thinking about: new formats of science communication, fighting conspiracy myths and trust in science.

Advisory Board



Anne Schreiter is Executive Director of the German Scholars Organization (GSO), a non-profit that advocates for researchers and scientists, offering programs and training for academics to build impactful careers – in academia and beyond. Anne studied Communication in Social and Economic Contexts at the Berlin University of the Arts and Chinese Language and Culture in Nanjing und Shanghai. After her PhD in Organization Studies and Cultural Theory at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, she spent a year as postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. Anne is board member of the „Research Management Network“ („Netzwerk Wissenschaftsmanagement“) and a mentor for students in multiple programs.


Florian Freistetter, born in 1977, studied astronomy at the University of Vienna. Between 2000 und 2010 he worked as astronomer at the Universities of Vienna, Jena and Heidelberg. Since 2010 he works as science communicator. He has written some books, published in a lot of journals, owns a blog and a podcast and is part of the science comedy group Science Busters.



Kieran Booluck is Research Impact Manager at the London School of Economics and Political Science, working on the university’s impact submission to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework 2021. Prior to that, he was the editor of the LSE Impact Blog, publishing research and commentary on topics related to research policy, scholarly communications, and the wider impact of academic research. He also worked in academic journals publishing for a number of years.



Mikael Laakso works as an Associate Professor at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki Finland. He has been researching the changing landscape towards openness in scholarly publishing by studying combinations of bibliometrics, web metrics, business models, science policy, and author behaviour for over 10 years. In addition to research he is also active in open access advocacy as part of national and international working groups.



Sam Illingworth is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University, where his research involves using poetry and games to enhance dialogue between scientists and non-scientists. You can find out more about Sam’s wok by visiting his website.



Toby Smith has served at AAU since January 2003 as Vice President for Policy and oversees AAU’s policy projects, initiatives and activities including the AAU Undergraduate STEM education and PhD education initiatives. He is responsible for matters relating to science and innovation policy and broader impacts of science. Before coming to AAU, Toby worked as a federal relations representative in the Washington D.C. Offices of the University of Michigan (1999-2002) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992-1999). Toby has written and spoken widely on science policy and funding issues. He is the co-author a book on national science policy published in 2008 by the University of Michigan Press titled, Beyond Sputnik – U.S. Science Policy in the 21stCentury. Toby holds a master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree from the University of Michigan.


Anna Curson works as Strategic Partnership Manager at F1000Research with a focus on research funding agencies and corporate clients. Her role involves working with research funding organizations to develop new opportunities and partnerships for open research publishing as well as providing strategic oversight of existing initiatives including enhancements and developments. Prior to joining F1000Research in 2021 Anna worked for many years at Wellcome where she managed a number of strategic partnership initiatives with both public and private funding agencies and provided operational leadership for their biomedical sciences funding team.


Smart scientific poetry by Sam Illingworth The Poetry of Science-related comedy and live shows Science Busters — Most famous german science blogger Florian Freistetter Florian Freistetter — Research on Scholarly Communication & the Humanities Le Publikateur Analyses from the inside: science policy and research assessment A blog to facilitate a healthy debate and discussion on the relationship between science and policy making Science in On the impact of academic work in the social sciences and other disciplines LSE Impact German journalism on science and education Jan-Martin Library ideas (in German) German blog on political theory, philosophy and intellectual history German blog on Open Science, libraries Leibniz-Informationszentrum Technik und


Institutional support and technical infrastructure Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Conceptual support and design Larissa Cooperation for events impact distillery —

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