Bold ideas and critical thoughts on science.

A wrap up of 2021 on Elephant in the Lab by the Editorial Team

Around this time last year we took a look back at the Elephants in the Lab of the Year and the article started with the words “2020 was different for all of us…”  Sadly that remains true for 2021. However, the debates and discussions within the scientific community have shifted slightly as the pandemic continued and thus, it is worth it once again to take a look back.

Power and Academia

We kicked-off the year discussing power in academia – an endless story, as our first article of the year described it. Throughout the year we discussed the power struggles in academia as well as how to change the status quo and how to create a good research environment in various articles and from various perspectives. This meant covering systematic changes as well as sharing personal experiences and discussing the current problems young researchers in particular face when it comes to building their careers while balancing their mental health

Covid and the need to rethink digital teaching

Apart from science communication and policy advice, another Elephant in the Lab that was put under the spotlight during the corona pandemic was Digital Teaching. We, therefore, asked our community for their experiences and thoughts about recent developments in digital teaching in higher education and how we can shape a better future and shared some best practice experiences

Next Up: Scientific Advice for Politics and Society

As mentioned before, scientific advice for politics and society have become a pressing issue during the corona pandemic. And thus, we are making it our next big Elephant in the Lab! If you want to contribute, please do so and help us foster the much needed debate on what scientific policy advice should look like. Here are some thoughts on why it matters: 

Are researchers the better politicians? Probably not. Or at least not necessarily. Politics and science work in fundamentally different ways and strive for their respective rationales. But at the same time, scientific advice can be crucial for well-founded and informed decision making. So: What does good scientific advice for politics look like? Who is legitimately asked for advice and who offers it? How does good advice find its recipient? Is it better to give advice publicly or confidentially? How does the scientific system reward such commitment? How does quality assurance work? These are the questions we want to explore and hopefully you will help us find some answers. 

But for now the Elephant team wishes you a lovely Christmas time and a good start to the new year!