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 in 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?






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 a political consultant in the president’s office of the Leibniz Association. 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 does his PhD in environmental modelling at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research. Recently he was a visiting scientist at the University of British Columbia. 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 a researcher in the research programme ‘Knowledge & Society’ at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). She graduated with a Master of Arts in Social Sciences from the Humboldt University Berlin (Specialization Democracy and Transformation) and King’s College London. Her elephant mission is to re-connect the research community 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.




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

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.






Rebecca Lawrence is Managing Director of F1000. She was responsible for the launch of F1000Research in 2013, and has subsequently led the initiative behind the recent launches of Wellcome Open Research, Gates Open Research, and many other funder- and institution-based publishing platforms that aim to start a new trajectory in the way scientific findings and data are communicated and ultimately research and researchers are evaluated. She is a member of the European Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform, chairing their work on next-generation indicators and their integrated advice: OSPP-REC, and is a member of the US National Academies (NASEM) Committee on Advanced and Automated Workflows. She has been a co-Chair of a number working groups focussing on data and peer review, for organisations including the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and ORCID. She is also an Advisory Board member for DORA (the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment) and for the data policy and standards initiative, FAIRsharing. She has worked in STM publishing for almost 20 years for several publishers including Elsevier where she built and ran the Drug Discovery Group. She originally trained and qualified as a pharmacist, and holds a PhD in Cardiovascular Pharmacology.




Dr 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.


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