Bold ideas and critical thoughts on science.


Our blog journal deals with issues that we assign to topics – the “elephants in the lab”. These topics can be understood as volumes in traditional academic publishing. Once we start a topic, we invite people to contribute to it. Nevertheless, everybody is invited to publish his or her opinion, short analyses, or moonshots on every elephant in the lab out there. Just drop us a line.

Fourth issue: What kind of #openscience do we want? 

Open science is on everyone’s lips. Policy makers, funders, researchers, and even publishers advocate for open access to scholarly work. It stands out that, despite the fact that almost everyone in the academic sphere demands for science to be open, the understanding of what constitutes openness varies and is partly contradictory. In the upcoming weeks we will take a closer look at the buzzword open science, reflect on the term, present current developments, and common pitfalls. 

Third issue: Do we need an oath for ethics in science?

The scientific community has recently experienced instances of scientific fraud and misconduct. Issues with the replicability of research pose the question if science needs a new oath for ethics and research integrity. Although there are codices of good scientific practice and systems that should control them, they seem to be insufficient.

Does academia need to readjust its ethical principles for research in an increasingly digital and intertwined world? How do we protect quality and reputation of science in times of scepticism towards the scientific authority?

We want to reflect and discuss ethics in science. Share your thoughts about the role of existing and alternative codes of conduct. What should the ideal codices comprise? How should they be controlled? Does digitalization essentially change the concept of integrity in science and research?

Guest Editor: Jana Rumler

Second issue: What is Scientific Impact?

Societal challenges like migration movements, climate change, or digitization show that there is a pressing need for informed expertise from virtually all fields of research. Yet, scientific knowledge often remains within its domain and reaches civil society only indirectly and delayed. In a 5-year citation window, 27% of the papers from natural sciences and 32% of the papers from social sciences remain uncited.

Expressed pointedly: While the need for scientific expertise is perhaps greater than ever, scientists produce papers that nobody reads. Moreover, neologisms like “alternative facts” suggest a noticeable loss of the scientific authority in the public opinion. All this raises a difficult question: What is the impact of science? In the next couple of weeks we will address this issue in more detail.

First issue: How many authors does it really need to write a paper?