On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics…


On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics: Principles, Practices, and Prospects :

“Claims about the transformations enabled by modern science and medicine have been accompanied by an unsettling question in recent years: might the knowledge being produced undermine – rather than further – human and animal well being? On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics examines the potential for the skills, know-how, information, and techniques associated with modern biology to serve contrasting ends. In recognition of the moral ambiguity of science and technology, each chapter considers steps that might be undertaken to prevent the deliberate spread of disease. Central to achieving this aim is the consideration of what role ethics might serve. To date, the ethical analysis of the themes of this volume has been limited. This book remedies this situation by bringing together contributors from a broad range of backgrounds to address a highly important ethical issue confronting humanity during the 21st century.”

URL : http://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=462759

Are Opinions Based on Science: Modelling Social Response to Scientific Facts

As scientists we like to think that modern societies and their members base their views, opinions and behaviour on scientific facts. This is not necessarily the case, even though we are all (over-) exposed to information flow through various channels of media, i.e. newspapers, television, radio, internet, and web.

It is thought that this is mainly due to the conflicting information on the mass media and to the individual attitude (formed by cultural, educational and environmental factors), that is, one external factor and another personal factor.

In this paper we will investigate the dynamical development of opinion in a small population of agents by means of a computational model of opinion formation in a co-evolving network of socially linked agents.

The personal and external factors are taken into account by assigning an individual attitude parameter to each agent, and by subjecting all to an external but homogeneous field to simulate the effect of the media.

We then adjust the field strength in the model by using actual data on scientific perception surveys carried out in two different populations, which allow us to compare two different societies.

We interpret the model findings with the aid of simple mean field calculations. Our results suggest that scientifically sound concepts are more difficult to acquire than concepts not validated by science, since opposing individuals organize themselves in close communities that prevent opinion consensus.”

URL : http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0042122

Sciences com libre accès et science ouverte Introduction…

Sciences.com — libre accès et science ouverte. Introduction :

“Confrontée au développement des réseaux électroniques, l’édition scientifique mue, mute, résiste ; nourris au lait d’Internet, les chercheurs tergiversent au moment d’y diffuser leurs productions; garantes du bien public, les institutions normalisent, s’interrogent, expérimentent. La mutation est profonde, et trouve des répercussions non seulement dans la circulation des connaissances, mais aussi dans la propriété intellectuelle et la notion d’auteur ou les conditions de publication… En quelques années, la diffusion des savoirs sur Internet et en particulier l'”open access” a changé les termes du débat. L’édition scientifique était un petit monde policé et local; aujourd’hui, c’est un marché global et un théâtre de guerre économique. Le nombre de scientifiques a explosé, les revues scientifiques se sont multipliées, les budgets explosent, et l’idéologie du “Publish or perish” domine. En parallèle, des intermédiaires du savoir, tels les sites commerciaux Cairn ou Science Direct, prennent une assise nouvelle et cherchent le meilleur modèle économique et cognitif. Les chercheurs sont placés face à une injonction paradoxale : d’une part publier, publier de plus en plus, dans des revues cotées, des revues de plus en plus mesurées, étalonnées, hiérarchisées, mais payantes et privées ; d’autre part, rendre public, diffuser au plus grand nombre, mettre en ligne le plus vite possible, librement et sans droit d’accès. Dans cette introduction au numéro spécial intitulé “Sciences.com”, les auteurs s’intéressent, dans une perspective résolument pluridisciplinaire, aux différents questions que pose cette ” science ouverte ” avec toutes ses formes de mises à disposition des connaissances produites par des scientifiques : revues gratuites, mises en ligne des publications par les institutions, modèle auteur-payeur, archives en libre accès, bibliothèques numériques ouvertes…”

URL : http://archivesic.ccsd.cnrs.fr/sic_00586590/fr/

Science, institutional archives and open access: an overview and a pilot survey on the Italian cancer research institutions


The Open Archive Initiative (OAI) refers to a movement started around the ’90s to guarantee free access to scientific information by removing the barriers to research results, especially those related to the ever increasing journal subscription prices.

This new paradigm has reshaped the scholarly communication system and is closely connected to the build up of institutional repositories (IRs) conceived to the benefit of scientists and research bodies as a means to keep possession of their own literary production.

The IRs are high-value tools which permit authors to gain visibility by enabling rapid access to scientific material (not only publications) thus increasing impact (citation rate) and permitting a multidimensional assessment of research findings.”


A survey was conducted in March 2010 to mainly explore the managing system in use for archiving the research finding adopted by the Italian Scientific Institutes for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care (IRCCS) of the oncology area within the Italian National Health Service.

They were asked to respond to a questionnaire intended to collect data about institutional archives, metadata formats and posting of full-text documents. The enquire concerned also the perceived role of the institutional repository DSpace ISS, built up by the Istituto Superiore di Sanita (Italian National Institute of Health, ISS), based on a XML scheme for encoding metadata.

Such a repository aims at acting as a unique reference point for the biomedical information produced by the Italian research institutions. An in-depth analysis has also been performed on the collection of information material addressed to patients produced by the institutions surveyed.


The survey respondents were 6 out of 9. The results reveal the use of different practices and standard among the institutions concerning: the type of documentation collected, the software adopted, the use and format of metadata and the conditions of accessibility to the IRs.


The Italian research institutions in the field of oncology are moving the first steps towards the philosophy of OA. The main effort should be the implementation of common procedures also in order to connect scientific publications to researchers curricula.

In this framework, an important effort is represented by the project of ISS aimed to set a common interface able to allow migration of data from partner institutions to the OA compliant repository DSpace ISS.

URL : http://www.jeccr.com/content/29/1/168