The myth of science as miracle machine

Daniel Sarewitz, of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University writes:

The myth of the miracle machine harms science and society because it shields scientists from accountability, governance and being responsive to human needs. A major reason that pervasive problems such as poor quality publications, hyper-competition and hype have been allowed to fester is the miracle-machine ideology: give us money, leave us alone and we’ll solve the world’s problems.

Scientists may justifiably complain that these problems result, at least in part, from funders’ push for translatable ideas — not the pursuit of their own creativity. After all, from the US National Institutes of Health’s translational science centre to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, scientists are being pushed to demonstrate the impacts of their research. But the idea of a push towards translation reflects the problem: the false belief that innovation starts with isolated basic science.

Read the full article in Nature

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