N O 4 | O C TO B E R 2 0 1 6
Wants to contribute to a just society “We can’t rely on old solutions,” says Sara Stendahl.
THE MACCHIARINI AFFAIR
ELECTION OF A VICE-CHANCELLOR
PRESSURED TO BE BEST
Could it happen at the University of Gothenburg?
5–10 candidates to progress further
Views of truth and excellence
University’s employer role a prioritised issue semester has begun with a lovely feel of late summer. Yet, it is not just the weather that has set its stamp on the times. In the wake of the scandal to hit Karolinska Institutet (KI) through the recruitment of surgeon/researcher Paolo Macchiarini, the research world is in a state of shock and many important issues around our operations have now come to a head. Could what has happened at KI happen here? It is, of course, a hypothetical question. Nonetheless, it is one that it is important to consider. I am convinced that there are many of us now thinking over the lessons that can be learned and what measures are necessary. Research ethics are now amongst the areas that, naturally enough, are likely to be very high on the agendas of all higher education institutions. Others are topics such as rules and procedures and how they are observed. As the person with ultimate responsibility for a major operation, there are always new challenges to tackle. As I enter my final year as vicechancellor of the University of Gothenburg, my prime intention is to complete what has already been decided on and started. The areas I intend to prioritise are set out below. T H E Y E A R ’ S AU T U M N
Employer and management issues. Besides good organisational conditions, the creation of a legally correct recruitment and employment system also requires uniformity, clarity and transparency. An improvement initiative has already started. It will require strengthened HR support. An action plan in this respect has been presented to deans and heads of departments. Implementation of University-wide responsibility for teacher education. Over the past year, we have laid the foundations for a new organisation of teacher education programmes. The
October 2016 E D I TO R - I N C H I E F A N D P U B L I S H E R
Teacher Education Coordination Board (SOL) has a key role in this. However, holistic responsibility is now an issue for the entire University. Amongst other things, this entails each faculty having a representative in SOL. Consequently, everyone has to help and contribute to a successful implementation. The Faculty of Science’s strategic development. To support the Faculty of Science’s initiative to create a shared vision for the long-term development of its operations, an investigation was carried out and completed before the summer. Working from this investigation’s recommendations, we are now progressing with, amongst other things, a study into how today’s marine field station operations can be run with a more efficient use of resources. Development of the Näckrosen and “Life Science” (Medicinarberget) projects. Both these are major, strategic projects. They are significant not only for the University of Gothenburg, but also for the city and the region. My ambition is now to ensure that, primarily for the benefit of our operations, they continue to develop positively. However, promoting the development of a “life science concentration” and of a unique meeting place for the humanities, culture and art in our part of the country are also part of the ambition. Collaborations with Chalmers. There are a number of ongoing collaborations between the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers. Along with Stefan Bengtsson, vice-chancellor of Chalmers, I would now like to go further in clarifying the intentions of our collaborations, not least as regards the potential to jointly contribute to developing and strengthening the university city of Gothenburg. Collaborations with city/region. Against the background of the University’s significant role in competence provisioning, collaborations with the City of Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland are becoming ever more important. They may revolve around anything from our students’ accommodation and work placement requirements to capitalising on research results and participating in shared arenas. All of these can be developed and I intend to focus on them over the coming year. It is now just a question of turning word into deed!
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
A MAGAZINE FOR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNIVERSIT Y OF GOTHENBURG
Allan Eriksson 031 - 786 10 21 firstname.lastname@example.org E D I TO R A N D V I C E P U B L I S H E R
Eva Lundgren 031 - 786 10 81 email@example.com P H OTO G R A P H Y A N D R E P R O D U C T I O N
Johan Wingborg 031 - 786 29 29 firstname.lastname@example.org G R A P H I C F O R M A N D L AYO U T
Anders Eurén 031 - 786 43 81 email@example.com
T R A N S L AT I O N
GU Journal University of Gothenburg Box 100, 405 30 Gothenburg E-MAIL
6–7 issues per year The next issue will come out in November DEADLINE FOR MANUSCRIPTS
October 14. M AT E R I A L
The Journal does not take responsibility for unsolicited material. The editorial office is responsible for unsigned material. Feel free to quote, but please give your source. C OV E R
Sara Stendahl, Professor of Public Law. Photo: Johan Wingborg
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
2 My final-year priorities as vice-chancellor. NEWS
4 Poor management and a lack of respect for rules responsible for KI crisis. 6 Independent research strengthens public’s faith, says vice-chancellor Pam Fredman. 7 Organisation for young researchers wants more members! 8 Election of vice-chancellor progresses. 9 Centre would like us to eat more seafood. 10 New trailblazing programme for European studies.
PROFILE 12 Sara Stendahl stands up for children’s rights. NEWS 15 Open access with a course from SND.
Macchiarini did not operate in a vacuum A results-obsessed system invites shortcuts.
16 Top-article on Google. 17 The environment problems need cooperation.
REPORT 18 Can researchers be trusted? CHRONICLE 21 “A person’s faith is not written on his face.”
REPORT 22 Science meets art in new project.
Focus on the environment Sverker Jagers sees cooperation as the solution.
Micrographs Art and research in perfect harmony.
12 Fighting for human rights
Sara Stendahl’s students meet people in need.
Editorial: Source confidentiality an obvious must T H E SW E D I S H AG E N C Y for Marine and Water Management has been reported to the Office of the Chancellor of Justice (JK) for disclosing one of its information sources. This was a person who tipped off the Agency’s magazine, Hav & Vatten (“Sea & Water”), and requested anonymity. The magazine is obliged to honour such requests. However, without asking the editorial team, the Agency gave out the name and email address. In justification, it cited Sweden’s “public access” principle. The case has attracted a great deal of attention. Some polemicists feel that the public access principle
and the Freedom of the Press Act conflict with each other. There are demands that the Act must be changed. It has even been asked whether public authorities are able to publish journals that can guarantee source confidentiality. Yet, things are not really that complicated. In our opinion, the Agency did not act correctly. Information to an editorial team that has an editor-in-chief is covered by the protection that the constitution extends to journalistic operations. The Freedom of the Press Act sets out that information is not in the public domain if it is supplied for publication in a public
authority periodical. Source confidentiality has precedence over the public access principle. A Supreme Court judgement of 2015 established that: “protection of the information provider’s anonymity is important as regards access to information and is thus essential for freedom of the press to serve its function in a free and democratic society.” We must safeguard these principles. I N T H I S E D ITI O N of GU Journalen, the consequences of the Macchiarini affair are taken up from various angles. Interviews with Pam Fredman (vice-chancellor), Björn Rydevik
(chair of the “misconduct council”) and Christian Munthe (ethics expert) are amongst our features. W IT H T H E M ACC H I A R I N I affair as their starting point, three science philosophers discuss how research has developed. Just as Sten Heckscher did in his investigation, they put the question whether the government’s excellence initiative has created a frenzied research climate ruled by the hunt for money and prestige.
ALLAN ERIKSSON & EVA LUNDGREN
Poor protection for whistle-blowers Poor leadership and a lack of respect for regulations are the main reasons for the catastrophic Macchiarini affair. Other explanations leave Christian Munthe and Björn Rydevik rather sceptical. H OW CO U LD IT H A PPE N? That is the question the academic community is asking itself as ever more compromising details emerge about the Macchiarini affair. Is it that the autonomy reform has given vicechancellors too much power? Or is the answer an increasingly frenetic hunt for excellence and future Nobel Prize winners? Alternatively, is it that the rules are insufficient? Christian Munthe, professor of practical philosophy and member of the Swedish Society of Medicine’s ethics delegation, does not feel that any of these explanations are particularly satisfactory. “When there is a scandal, people are always finding explanations of various problems that, in themselves, are serious, but which may not necessarily be at all pertinent to the matter. Of course, prestige and money may be relevant when someone cheats, especially if it’s a question of an area where the researcher can profit from the results. However, there is also cheating in research that certainly does not bring in masses of money. Moreover, research scandals are hardly a new phenomenon. They were around even before all the major excellence initiatives.” C H R I STI A N M U N T H E underlines that, in recent years, we have moved from a trust-based system, in which researchers relied on their colleagues, to one in which researchers are subject to various institutional checks such as peer review or the requirement to state conflicts of interests and the source of funding. “This is certainly a sign that the self-regulation previously used
in research did not work so well. Nonetheless, all the new requirements have raised research quality and made it more transparent. This has led to less, rather than more, misconduct in recent years.” It is also not the case that regulations are lacking or unclear. “On the contrary, Sweden’s Ethical Review Act, for example, is crystal clear and applies to all medical experiments. Thus, this is a question either of researchers who do not care right from the start or of researchers who, in the course of their work, get so caught up in what they are doing that they start to flout laws and rules. Exactly as Sten Heckscher says in his investigative report, there is an air of rules being regarded solely as obstacles that no researcher needs to care about.” N O N E T H E LE S S , Christian Munthe highlights that, just as vehicle drivers must know the highway code, researchers are under an obligation to know the rules. “Here, management needs to issue a stern warning. It has to be clear that laws and rules must be taken seriously, for example, as regards participation in research projects.” Björn Rydevik is the chair of the University of Gothenburg’s “council for investigating suspected misconduct in research”. He relates that all cases are investigated with great attention to detail. An investigation terminates with the council coming to one of three conclusions. “We find that there either was or was not misconduct, or that we cannot take a position on the issue. Our conclusion is presented in a statement
to the vice-chancellor, who reaches a verdict and also determines any consequences.” The four researchers who first raised the alarm in the Macchiarini affair were threatened with both police reports and dismissal. Björn Rydevik feels it is a great problem that there is no protection for whistleblowers.
»Here, management needs to issue a stern warning.« CHRISTIAN MUNTHE
“Things can go really badly for a whistle-blower, especially if it’s a young person reporting a senior researcher. However, a person subsequently cleared of suspected misconduct can find getting back into research difficult. We need a system that protects both parties in misconduct cases.” It is noteworthy that there is no appeal against the vice-chancellor’s decision. “This may be seen as a lack of legal correctness, it should be possible to have a case heard by a higher, independent authority.” At present, each higher education institution investigates its own suspected misconduct. There is thus a risk of conflicts of interests. However, Björn Rydevik states that this issue is
always considered in the investigation. Education and Research has decided on a national investigation into how misconduct in research is to be handled in Sweden. Margaretha Fahlgren, professor of literary studies in Uppsala, is heading this ongoing investigation. We will have to see if, for example, a national body for investigating such cases is proposed or if it is proposed that universities and university colleges continue to be in charge of such issues. The investigation is scheduled to end on the 25th of November.”
“ T H E M I N I ST RY O F
B J Ö R N RY D E V I K feels it should be obvious that universities and university colleges must comply with laws, rules and ethical positions. “The Macchiarini affair may have the positive effect of higher education institutions becoming aware of the terrible consequences that dishonesty or neglect may have. New medical treatment methods that have not been correctly evaluated scientifically can, as we have seen, have very serious consequences. Ultimately, higher education institutions themselves may suffer if young researchers opt out of academia because they quite simply lack confidence in it.” Even if the excellence initiatives are not the whole explanation of the scandal at Karolinska Institutet, Björn Rydevik is of the opinion that the pressure to constantly deliver may have been a contributing factor. “The risk is that, to be first to publish interesting results, researchers rush and take shortcuts. Intentions may be good, for example,
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
Björn Rydevik and Christian Munthe believe that leaders of higher education institutions must clarify that rules are made to be followed.
to rapidly find an effective medical product. Yet, this is exactly why it is important to have not only a smoothly functioning and structured system of laws, but also common sense. These must act as a safety net forcing researchers to stay in touch with reality.” Since May, the University of Gothenburg has run a course that PhD students and other researchers can attend to learn how to protect research information, work with external parties and prevent misconduct. “This autumn, the course will be given in both Swedish and English,” reveals Björn Rydevik. “We hope that, eventually, it will be compulsory in doctoral programmes and run every semester. Knowledge of relevant rules, laws and ethical research principles is roughly like physical exercise. An isolated training session isn’t enough. You have to keep things up.” C H R I STI A N M U N T H E , however, believes that training is not enough to overcome the misconduct issue. “For regulations to be taken seriously, the punishment for misconduct needs to be sharpened, perhaps to 2 years in prison,” explains Christian Munthe. “The 2-year period for bringing charges should also be lengthened to 5. This would considerably increase
the risk of being found out. Furthermore, the responsibility for complying with laws and rules should be extended to also apply to heads of research and not, as today, rest solely with heads of departments. Perhaps we also need mandatory reporting for research, i.e. a duty for the higher education institution to examine nonconformities and unexpected events as well as to take action as soon as possible.” TEXT: EVA LUNDGREN PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
Read Vice-Chancellor Pam Fredman’s answer. FACTS In brief: The council for investigating suspected cases of misconduct in research, artistic research or development initiatives has 8 members and a secretary (University legal officer, Kristina Ullgren). Björn Rydevik, senior professor of orthopaedic surgery, is the chair. This spring saw the start of the Protection of research information and prevention of misconduct in research programme. It is primarily directed at PhD students, but is also relevant to heads of research and other personnel with research connections.
“The Macchiarini affair is a wake-up call for all of us, an event that has shaken the university world to its foundations.” So says vice-chancellor Pam Fredman. She feels that higher education institutions must now do everything they can to rebuild faith in research.
A N OT H E R LE S S O N is that recruitment processes may need reviewing. Pam Fredman has thus asked Human Resources to map out how teachers are currently recruited. “The recruitment processes must be clear and transparent. It must be possible to know why an applicant has or has not been given a post. In my last year as vice-chancellor, there will indeed be a focus on employer issues. I have great confidence in the system, but it may need further explanation so that we are entirely sure that it is legally correct and transparent.” Pam Fredman does not consider it is a problem that appointment procedures vary between faculties. “Nevertheless, it’s important to be
thorough and, for example, take up references. Furthermore, even if we don’t all do the same, we must act as a single public authority. However, we must improve by learning from each other and sharing our findings.” Pam Fredman does not want to speculate why things went so wrong at Karolinska Institutet (KI). “Still, in my judgement, we have a good system at the University of Gothenburg – even if we can’t always be entirely sure that mistakes are not made.” PA M FR E D M A N shares the external investigation’s view that there is a connection between the government’s investment in excellence and what happened at KI. “In general, we have a research situation that is characterised by so much bustle that we don’t always have time for reflection. Moreover, there is an altogether too strong impulse to rapidly achieve usefulness and innovation. Above all else, basic research must be allowed to take time.” Pam Fredman believes that the financing system, the haste to publish and the constant demand to seek external funds are factors driving the stress. “I think we should consider whether we have perhaps landed in a situation where resource allocation sets up such an accelerated tempo that researchers are tempted to take shortcuts. To counter this, there needs to be increased investment in block funding.” AT T H E SA M E TI M E , Pam Fredman emphasises that the “research rush” is not a Swedish phenomenon. It is part of an international trend. “Despite everything, compared to
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
ACCO R D I N G TO T H E SOM Institute, universities and university colleges are, year after year, amongst the societal institutions in which people have the greatest faith. However, in view of the media impact of the Macchiarini affair, this faith may crumble. “I feel the affair may damage Swedish research. Thus, it is important that all of us in academia take responsibility and do what we can to ensure that nothing similar ever happens again. We have an incredibly wide-ranging duty to safeguard the public’s faith,” comments Pam Fredman. One lesson from the Macchiarini affair is that researchers, teachers and managers at all levels need training in laws, rules and ethical conduct. Yet, Pam Fredman is of the opinion that this is not enough. She points out the importance of constantly discussing these issues at both local and international levels.
Vice-chancellor Pam Fredman
»Above all else, basic research must be allowed to take time.« PAM FREDMAN
other countries, Sweden is relatively blessed. We must safeguard unconditional research that can be examined and questioned. We are the only institution that can do this. We must also safeguard the carrying out of our basic mission to conduct research and education free from undue control.” ALLAN ERIKSSON
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
7 PHOTO: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CL AESSEN
Elisabet Jerlhag Holm and Marie Kalm want a University-wide council for young researchers.
Wanted: council for young researchers Are you a young, postdoctoral researcher who is wondering how to progress further in academia? Then Future Faculty may be something for you. So far, this association exists only at the Sahlgrenska Academy. “Nonetheless, we would like to encourage other faculties to form their own organisations. The dream is to create a University-wide council for young researchers,” explain the joint chairs, Marie Kalm and Elisabet Jerlhag Holm. ST U D E N T S AT A LL D EG R E E levels are represented in the University’s various committees and boards. However, young researchers who have a doctoral degree, but who have not yet found permanent employment, seldom have particularly great influence. “Thus, 10 years ago, Future Faculty was formed at the Sahlgrenska Academy,” reveals Marie Kalm, postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Pharmacology. “One aim is to support young researchers by arranging seminars. How to write good applications, what CVs should contain and available career paths are three examples of seminar themes. Another aim is network building.” At present, Future Faculty at the Sahlgrenska Academy has around 270 mem-
bers. It is part of National Junior Faculty, an umbrella organisation that was invited to give input to the now completed “Research and career investigation” implemented by the Government Offices of Sweden. The organisation has already influenced the Swedish Research Council. Earlier this year, said council decided to introduce a special six-year Consolidator Grant for young researchers. “Being a junior researcher without an appointment and in need of external financing is very precarious,” says Elisabet Jerlhag Holm, reader at the Department of Pharmacology. “This results in many leaving academia. Thus, finance is important even for those who have not progressed so far in their research careers.” Future Faculty has had a meeting with Ann Fust, the government investigator looking into the plight of young researchers. It also has regular meetings with the dean and pro-dean. The Sahlgrenska Academy provides financial support for Future Faculty. “ M E M B E R S H I P I S FR E E and entails no obligations,” states Marie Kalm. “However, we would like to have more members, not least amongst clinically active researchers.” Future Faculty would additionally like
»Another aim is network building.« MARIE KALM
help to set up further associations at the University of Gothenburg’s other faculties. “Together, we could form a Universitywide council for young researchers. The vicechancellor is positive about this,” discloses Elisabet Jerlhag Holm. “Even if the faculties differ in many ways, they also have many issues in common. Furthermore, besides being fun, meeting colleagues from other faculties can lead to entirely new interdisciplinary research questions and projects.” EVA LUNDGREN
FACTS Future Faculty vid Sahlgrenska akademin bildades 2006 och har idag cirka 270 medlemmar. Föreningen ingår i nybildade National Junior Faculty, tillsammans med liknande organisationer vid universiteten i Linköping, Lund, Umeå, Uppsala samt Karolinska Institutet. Future Faculty vill nu stödja bildandet av liknande föreningar också vid andra fakulteter. Mer information finns på: http://sahlgrenska. gu.se/english/research/future_faculty. Mejladress: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between five and ten to progress to interview
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
ELECTION OF A NEW VICE-CHANCELLOR
»Being proposed for such an incredibly demanding, but also stimulating, position evidences peer recognition that I value very highly.« PER CRAMÉR
also include other academic leaders. There are men and women as well as an applicant from another Nordic country. Very pleasingly, there’s a great width in the subject areas represented.” T H E N E X T ST E P is for the recruitment consultant to carry out in-depth interviews of the candidates selected by the preparatory body. From the input this produces, the preparatory body will then itself hold interviews. Around two months have been allocated for the work. “We must stand unanimously behind our choice of candidates. However, I presently have no idea what the format will be. I believe we will have one to no more than three final candidates.”
Cecilia Schelin Seidegård is leading the work to find a new vice chancellor.
The starting field is to comprise 5 – 10 candidates. However, only 1 to no more than 3 will make it to the final round. In-depth interviews are the next stage. “I’m satisfied. We have very good applicants,” says the board’s chair, Cecilia Schelin Seidegård.
T H E 1 5T H O F S E P T E M B E R application deadline has now passed. It has left us with only one internally nominated candidate. This is Per Cramér, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law since 2010. He feels honoured by the nomination. “Being proposed for such an incredibly demanding, but also stimulating, position evidences peer recognition that I value very highly. I accept it with pride. I really can’t say any more than that.” Cecilia Schelin Seidegård, who is leading the recruitment group’s work, reveals that Source (the engaged recruitment company) received some
20 expressions of interest. On the 18th of September, the preparatory body decided that the next stage should involve a handful of candidates. “ W E ’ R E N OT talking of a large group. There aren’t that many people with the skills and experience of academic leadership that we are looking for. We don’t currently know exactly how many we’ll take through to the final stages, but it’ll be around 5 to 10 strong candidates,” reveals Cecilia Schelin Seidegård. “Besides pro-vice-chancellors and vice-chancellors from other higher education institutions, the applicants
O N T H E 2 9T H of November, the University Board will submit its proposal to the consultative assembly. This will start its work on the 15th of December. However, as early as the middle of November, the consultative assembly is to have a first preparatory meeting to discuss how it will work. “It’s important that the recruitment doesn’t become protracted. Candidates may receive other offers or lose interest. That’s why it has to be rather speedy.” Cecilia Schelin Seidegård emphasis that she is pleased with the work so far. “The preparatory group is extremely active and work is definitely progressing. Discussions are tough, but we’re also having fun. Nothing is easy. That’s exactly how it should be.”
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
She wants more fish on the menu! PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
Can a farming system involving fish, algae and bottom-dwelling sea creatures be one of the solutions to the future’s food problems? Snuttan Sundell, operations leader of the newly inaugurated Swedish Mariculture Research Center (SWEMARC), believes it can. “However, for the Center to achieve its aims, we researchers must collaborate with politicians and the general public.”
A L S O I N T H E Center are colleagues from the School of Business, Economics and Law (e.g. tourism researchers). “We know that people increasingly want to experience new things on holidays. Hence, one exciting idea is for tourists to take boats out to farms and then, for example, pick their own oysters. These will then be served, along with champagne, in a harbour restaurant!” Local produce has become ever more popular. In Snuttan Sundell’s opinion, this should also apply to the sea’s delicacies. “We have an entire coast that is practically unused for farming. Instead, we import fish from Norway and Asia. This is quite clearly not sustainable, neither in Sweden nor internationally.”
is expected to hit at least 9.7 billion in 2050. As one of the consequences, food production will be under great pressure to deliver useful and nutritious products. It must also, not least importantly, be environmentfriendly. This is the problem that SWEMARC will be addressing. The Center is one of six in the University of Gothenburg’s UGOT Challenges initiative. “Our research is based on the fact that just over 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is water. However, only a very tiny per cent is used for food production. Nonetheless, mariculture has very many advantages over standard agriculture,” states Snuttan Sundell, professor of zoophysiology. T H E WO R LD’ S P O P U L ATI O N
FO R E X A M PLE , fish and crustaceans convert feed to meat far better than do pigs and cattle. In addition, far more of a fish is eaten than is, for example, of a pig. This further reduces waste. One solution is to create multi-species farming that gives rise to hardly any waste at all. “If, for example, we farm fish along with mussels, algae and bottomdwelling sea creatures, these latter organisms take up the nutrients released from the farming operations. When we then eat fish, mussels and langoustines, the remnants (fish cleanings and shells) can be included in fish feed and reused in farming. This sets up a cycle in which almost no nutrients go to waste.” Snuttan Sundell feels that waste from fish farming can also be used in agriculture. “Instead of seeing nitrogen and phosphorus as environmental problems, these valuable substances can
point farming something that nobody wants. Furthermore, ‘locals’ often have a great deal of knowledge that we researchers can learn from.” It is also important to listen to those who are perhaps worried that fish farming may smell or destroy the beauty of its surroundings. “That is why we have designers in the Center. The idea is to create farms that are aesthetically appealing and which people can be proud of.”
EVA LUNDGREN Kristina Snuttan Sundell
»We can’t just say we are experts and deluge people with facts.«
be an asset if they are used responsibly as fertiliser.” To develop multi-species farming optimally, SWEMARC’s researchers want to start a test facility at a coastal municipality. However, expertise in biology, environmental sciences or technology is not enough to do this well. This is why several departments at the School of Business, Economics and Law and the Academy of Design and Crafts are included in the Center. say we are experts and deluge people with facts,” explains Snuttan Sundell. “Instead, we must collaborate with politicians and the general public right from the start. Amongst other things, we have to discover which species interest consumers. After all, there is no
“ W E C A N ’ T J U ST
FACTS: SWEMARC The Swedish Mariculture Research Center is one of six centres financed by the UGOT Challenges initiative. The Center, which is to get SEK 50 million over six years, involves a collaboration between seven departments: Biological and Environmental Sciences; Marine Sciences; Earth Sciences; Business Administration; Law; Political Science; and, the Academy of Design and Crafts. The Center’s operations are part of the Centre for Sea and Society. Along with colleagues in Denmark, Norway and Iceland, the researchers are planning to start a master’s programme in sustainable marine food production. Kristina Snuttan Sundell, professor of zoophysiology, is the operations leader. The Center was inaugurated on the 5th of September. More information is available at http://havochsamhalle.gu.se/.
University course for European experts A bachelor’s degree and at least five years’ work experience in an area with a European connection – those are the admission requirements for the entirely new Executive Master’s Programme in European Studies (EMAES). “Because the entrants already have so much knowledge, we see them not so much as students but as colleagues who can contribute to the programme,” explains Sofie Blombäck, programme coordinator. S O T H AT ST U D E N T S C A N combine their studies with work, the programme is half-time for four semesters. Teaching is primarily via the internet. However, there are seven two-day meetings in Gothenburg. The first day is for finishing a course and the second for introducing the next course element. Networking is, of course, an at least as important reason for meeting up. “The EMAES students do, after all, have knowledge and contacts from the various companies or public authorities where they work. This can be useful for their coursemates,” opines Urban Strandberg, director of studies. “We also hope that these students will be able to serve as links to working life – finding work placements for example. Another idea is to engage the students as visiting lecturers for our first-cycle students in European Studies. They could speak about what it is like to work at, for example, the Swedish Defence Research Agency or an embassy in Europe.”
Sebastian Marx and Karolina Enquist Källgren in a discussion with the students.
Another special feature of the programme is that it begins with a methodology course. Urban Strandberg reveals that methodology elements are then included in the other modules throughout the programme. “We are thus testing an inverted way of studying. Usually, the methodology section is next to last in the programme, right before writing an academic paper. We are doing it this way partly because these students have been in working life for quite a while and, consequently, perhaps need an introduction to methodology. However, so that students learn how to think like researchers right from the start, many colleagues have long discussed the idea of integrating methodology instruction throughout programmes. As far as I know though, no one in our disciplinary domain has done this, neither at GU nor at other higher education institutions. Thus, what we are doing now is rather trailblazing.” The first meeting with the students
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
All the students have at least 5 years work experience.
»As far as I know though, no one in our disciplinary domain has done this …« URBAN STRANDBERG
was on the 5th and 6th of September. Several teachers took the opportunity to introduce themselves. They included Lisbeth Aggestam, political scientist, who spoke about her research project on leadership within the EU. Another was Andreas Moberg, lawyer, who discussed the European Court of Justice’s view of, amongst other things, disclosure. Karolina Enquist Källgren, historian of ideas and programme coordinator, gave details of her research into Second World War exiled philosophers. These included María Zambrano, who had a vision of Europe as a country for all people, regardless of nationality. T H E S U B S EQ U E N T question and answer session revolved primarily around Brexit. “One thing is certain, all the work involved in the exit will cost the United Kingdom far more than the criticised EU contributions,” stated Sebastian Marx, CEO of Gothenburg’s European Office in Brussels.
FACTS The idea behind the programme comes from the Council for European Studies at the University of Gothenburg. Its members are Cecilia Malmström, Gunnar Bolin, Christian Leffler, Sebastian Marx, Karin Knutsson, Mikaela Kumlin-Granit, Lotta Lekvall, Helena L Nilsson and Jerker Stattin. More information: http://pol. gu.se/Utbildning/ centrum-for-europastudier.
What did the students themselves think about the new programme?
Stephan Kowitz, who works at the German embassy in Bangkok, hoped that the programme would give new perspectives as regards Europe’s global significance. “I’m also inquisitive about my coursemates and what we can learn from each other.” Lena Fassali of the European Union’s monitoring mission in Georgia believes that the programme could be of concrete significance in her work. “I’ve already discussed Abkhazia and South Ossetia with another student. That’s fantastic. I hardly ever bump into people who know particularly much about Georgia.”
TEXT: EVA LUNDGREN PHOTO: ALLAN ERIKSSON
We must not betray human rights I fjol publicerade Sara Stendahl en debattartikel om att alla barn, oavsett varför de vistas i Sverige, har rätt att gå i skola. – Det var en text som jag för bara några år sedan aldrig hade trott att jag skulle behöva skriva, förklarar hon. Hon är nybliven ordförande för Stiftelsen Torgny Segerstedts Minne men också ny professor i offentlig rätt.
F T E R A FE W W E E K S’
holiday in her family’s summer cottage near Sunne, Sara Stendahl is back in Gothenburg. Apart from picking berries and mushrooms, she devoted her days to writing articles and to her favourite interest, literature. “I always have a bundle of books with me. The weather can then decide how much nature or culture I get,” she explains. Besides being one of the country’s leading researchers in social security law, Sara is
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
social anthropology. That I eventually plumped for law is down to the subject’s possibilities for so many interesting later choices. Of course, law is also important and affects all of society.” A S A PH D ST U D E N T , Sara Stendahl already had the idea of setting up something like the law clinics where, in the USA and other countries, vulnerable people receive free advice from law students. Last autumn, the idea was realised when the Department of Law became the first educational institution in Sweden to start clinical legal education. They are part of the course, Law of the Welfare State in Practice. “Three days a week, the course involves the students giving vulnerable people concrete legal advice. It may, for example, be about right of asylum, school issues, health care or family law. We also collaborate with a fourteen voluntary organisations. However, the course is not only practical, it also has an important theoretical part. This discusses basic issues of citizenship and the lawyer’s role in society.” Sara Stendahl relates that the students also train in reflecting on and framing their own draft legislation. “Part of the degree comprises translating legal information into simpler language. This then becomes a brochure. The law clinics are to additionally serve as a platform for meetings, collaborations, seminars and, we hope, even research projects in which conversations with those who actually work hands-on in society provide the basis for research issues.” Last year, for her work with law clinics, Sara Stendahl received Paragrafen, a pedagogical prize awarded by Juridiska Föreningen (the “Legal Association”) in Gothenburg.
“We must find new ways to create a good society,” says Sara Stendahl.
also the deputy head of the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Law. She is additionally on various boards. One of her posts is as vice-chair of the European Institute for Social Security. Before the summer, she completed her assignment in the team that was working on building up the newly established Segerstedt Institute. SA R A I S T H E DAU G H T E R of Anders Stendahl, a judge, and Christina Stendahl, a former registrar and, later on, chaplain at the University of Gothenburg. This might lead to the belief that her career path has been as straight as an arrow. Quite the contrary
– meeting her in her room at the School of Business, Economics and Law, she discloses that she started her legal studies rather late at the age of 29. “I grew up in Lerum and followed the care line at upper-secondary school. I was an exchange student in the USA one year and then considered perhaps becoming a doctor. Instead, as a twenty-year-old, I started a business, Bokförmedlaren, selling books from small publishers and printing texts on a little offset press. At the same time that I was active in the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, I was also reading literary studies, the history of ideas and
SA R A ST E N DA H L’ S areas of research are social security, justice, rule of law and human rights. Perhaps these are extra interesting because they deal with issues that are constantly being discussed. The issues are in constant flux and sometimes also lead to hot debate. “Amongst other things, I’m researching what, in relation to human rights, it means to be an EU citizen. In matters such as education, housing and daily food, the real question to ask is not if we truly can maintain the right to equality. I believe most Swedes are, in fact, for this. The question we have to ask is how, now that the old solutions no longer always work, we are to maintain equality. We must try to come up with new ideas about creating a just society.” Even if Sara Stendahl is full of admiration for all the voluntary organisations that, in different ways, work hard to help EU citizens and refugees, she still emphasises the state’s responsibility. “It’s important not to fall into clichés of how it is elsewhere or, for that matter, how it is here. For example, Swedish parental insurance is often held out as the world’s best. However, this certainly does not mean,
“With its fantastic allotments and the hen-keeping cooperative, there is attraction in the slight unkemptness of Sjöbergen. My family are now also members,” divulges Sara Stendahl.
SAR A STENDAHL as is sometimes asserted, that the family no longer has a role in Sweden. On the contrary, as a young mother, I would never have managed without the help of parents, siblings and friends. Thus, there is no contradiction in having a strong public sector and at the same time support private initiatives. That is how our society works.” T H E E X T E N T TO which children of EU migrants really are entitled to schooling when they, the children, have been in Sweden more than three months is an example of the sort of discussion that flared up last year. Along with Otto Swedrup, a colleague, Sara Stendahl wrote a debate article in Dagens samhälle (a major public sector journal). “It was a discussion that, only a few years ago, I would not have believed possible. The law is extremely clear. All children are entitled to schooling. Education is fundamental. It is, after all, connected with future breadwinning capability. For this reason, it is also a factor in avoiding poverty. Nonetheless, that such discussion can arise shows that the welfare state is fragile and that our social institutions must be constantly expanded and repeatedly reinforced.” Debate articles signed by Sara Stendahl and other University of Gothenburg researchers in law have also been prompted by the Swedish parliament’s latest decision on
the refugee crisis. This decision relates to ID checks at the Danish border and restrictions in refugees’ possibilities for obtaining residence permits and being reunited with their families. “It is with great sorrow that I see Europe, with all its lessons from two world wars, is not more mature in handling the catastrophe in Syria. Various fears have sprung up, in Sweden too. However, at the same time, we must not forget that there are also many good initiatives.” Sara Stendahl feels that universities are a particularly positive force and that it is a privilege to be a part of them.
» All children are entitled to schooling« “ IT ’ S G R E AT that the University of Gothenburg is so dynamic as regards research in societal development. There are several platforms for collaborations. The Institute for Innovation and Social Change, where I myself work, is one of them. As deputy head of the Department of Law, I’m also responsible for developing our initiatives in the interdisciplinary areas that we are particularly strong in. These are: sea and
L ATEST NEWS: New chair of the Torgny Segerstedt Foundation, new professor of public law. L ATEST PROJECTS: The EU financed All Rights Reserved? Barriers towards EUropean CITIZENship (bEUcitizen).Principal supervisor for three PhD students. FAMILY: Three daughters of 21, 18 and 14 plus a 16-year-old extra daughter from Eritrea. PETS: Two dogs LIVES: Västra Frölunda. L AST BOOK READ: GabrielByström: Tystnadens Triumph (Triupho of Silence), Margaret Atwood: The Heart Goes Last. L AST FILM: Finding Dory. FAVOURITE FOOD: The food somebody else has cooked. INTERESTS: Literature (Alice Munro is a favourite) and countryside and forest walks.
water; social sustainability; and, knowledge and intellectual resources.” In May, Sara Stendahl became the chair of the Torgny Segerstedt Foundation. She has been a member of this since 2013. It provides an example of how her own involvement has led to both major and minor decisions. Amongst other things, she is in a hen-keeping cooperative at allotments in Sjöbergen. “ I LI V E V E RY close by and need only walk over the hill to get absolutely fresh eggs.” Nonetheless, a more important commitment is the new family member who has just moved in. When Sara’s eldest daughter left home, a spare room suddenly became available. “As I grew up with an adoptive brother, I may have a slightly wider view of family make-up. So, when I discussed it with the children, we fairly rapidly decided it was obvious we should welcome an unaccompanied child. Thus, we now have a 16-year-old girl from Eritrea living with us. For me personally, it feels like I have gained yet another daughter. She is a delight and is giving the whole family new thoughts and insights.”
TEXT: EVA LUNDGREN PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
Make research open and visible Increased democratic influence, greater possibilities for reusing results and a way for making it easier for colleagues to find joint projects – these are a few reasons for making research data accessible to people outside the research team. However, how can this be done in practice? This is what the BAS 16 project is all about. L A ST Y E A R , the Swedish Research Council published a report on how research data should be made open and accessible. The EU’s Horizon 2020 also recommends greater openness. Similarly, major international financiers such as Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation have started to require data management plans, i.e. the researchers have to describe how their material is to be amassed and processed. “Most researchers certainly realise the advantages of making research data as readily accessible as possible,” states Max Petzold, director of the Swedish National Data Service (SND). “However, as yet, no system has been developed for this. The problems are many. Some of the issues involved are: saving things in a way that is understandable even for a research team looking at the material 20 years later; using a technology that remains practical for the foreseeable future without becoming suddenly unusable; and, finding a method that
does not require too much work.” Deciding at which level data is to be made accessible is not least important. Certain material could be open to all, but not, for example, personal data or trade secrets. “SND is very willing to help with these and other issues. Yet, the ever increasing demands for accessibility do, of course, make it ever more difficult for us to support all the researchers who contact us.” T H AT I S W H Y S N D has now started its pilot project BAS 16, Bibliotek – Arkiv – SND 2016 (“Library – Archive – SND 2016”). This is based on training special personnel at “research support units” (i.e. participating higher education institutions). At the University of Gothenburg, this unit comprises: librarians at the Social Sciences and Economics libraries; archivists; lawyers; and, researchers in environmental economics. “The project works on the basis of SND personnel visiting higher
education institutions to give onsite training to the research support units,” explains data manager, Caspar Jordan, leader of the University of Gothenburg’s part of the project. “It can be about anything from suitable file formats to laws and ordinances. The research support units can then work with researchers. With support from us at the beginning, but then increasingly independently. However, we are always accessible for support.” T H E I D E A I S that the project should eventually result in a national register and repository for research data. “Presumably, there will be a central storage facility where each higher education institution gets its own piece of the pie.” Texts and standard Excel sheets are not so difficult to handle. “It’s not so easy with longitudinal studies, geographical data, sounds and images though,” explains Ilze Lace, data manager at SND. “The variation between subject areas is also great. For example, in field linguistics, where researchers record dying languages, correct storage of recordings has long been self-evident. However, perhaps saving all studies is not as equally obvious for grammar researchers.” PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
From the left: Eva M Johansson, Christian Kleinhenz, Rufus Latham, Caspar Jordan, Helena Rohdén, Max Petzold and Ilze Lace.
Making research accessible and writing data management plans does, of course, involve extra work – at least, at the start of a research project. “However, we believe that, in the long run, it can make things easier,” comments Eva M. Johansson, librarian at the Social Sciences library. “For example, when a new researcher joins the team, all the material is already in order and thus easier to assimilate. One hope is that information on data management plans will work its way in as early as doctoral study courses and programmes.” DA N I E L T E R N A LD , project assistant in the Environment for Development network of researchers, is one of those to have been trained in the SND pilot. He too feels that greater orderliness and more transparency will appeal to a growing number of researchers. “It leads to more thorough examinations and greater possibilities for recreating material and researching it further. I believe that the vast majority of researchers are positive towards data being accessible to others.”
FACTS BAS 16 The Bibliotek – Arkiv – SND 2016 project is all about finding a model for making research data accessible in Sweden and ensuring the data’s long-term storage. It involves a collaboration between, on the one hand, the Swedish National Data Service and, on the other, libraries, archives and IT at the participating higher education institutions. So far, the latter are the universities of Gothenburg, Lund, Malmö and Jönköping and Luleå University of Technology. This autumn, they will be joined by the universities of Stockholm and Umeå as well as Blekinge Institute of Technology. A Swedish Research Council report, National guidelines for open access to scientific information, proposes that data from all public research should be made accessible. The EU’s Horizon 2020 framework programme also recommends making data accessible. BAS 16 is to be the basis of SND’s infrastructure application to the Swedish Research Council in spring 2017. For more information: https://snd.gu.se.
News PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
Girma Berhanu is co-author of one of the University’s most widely spread articles.
Record interest in research article A research article on the primary factors affecting pupils’ school results has soared to become the University of Gothenburg’s most-read research article on Google. One reason may be that Girma Berhanu, professor of peda gogics, was cited as co-author. I N T H E CO U R S E of a year, an abstract of a research article published on the Faculty of Education’s web-based research pages has had almost 19,000 Google views. Of these, 15,000 were unique. The vast majority of visitors have been from the Philippines, Kenya, Malaysia and Pakistan. A standard research article usually gets around 7 – 800 Google views a year.
What do you think is the reason for all this attention?
“I have no idea,” says Girma Berhanu, laughing. “I’m shocked. However, it’s not down to me. My role was highly marginal. As an external reviewer, I previously approved a thesis by the main author, M. S. Farooq.
He asked me if I could take a look at this article. I only examined it and made a few suggestions for improvements.” T H E ST U DY A PPE A R E D as early as 2011 in the Journal of Quality and Technology Management. This is published by the University of Punjab in Pakistan. The questionnaire on which the study was based was answered by 600 ninth-year students in a Pakistani town. Its aim was to map out whether there is a connection between, on the one hand, student performance in national exams and, on the other, the socio-economic backgrounds and the education levels of the students’ parents. Not entirely surprisingly, there is a strong con-
»I could never have imagined that it would reach so many.« nection. However, parents’ education levels are of greater significance than their jobs. Furthermore, the girls proved to do better than the boys. “ IT WA S PR E T T Y much what could be expected,” comments Girma Berhanu. “In many developing countries, the number of students dropping out of school is a major problem. I feel that’s why the research article has wide appeal. Yet, I could never have imagined that it would reach so many. I am, of course, pleased with anything that helps further raise the University of Gothenburg’s reputation.”
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
Cooperation for a better environment
C EC A R is one of six environments granted funds in the University of Gothenburg’s major UGOT Challenges initiative. CeCAR’s director, Sverker Jagers, relates that the centre is a dream come true. “For at least 15 years, we in political science, economics and environmental psychology have made joint research applications and run joint courses. However, the UGOT initiative has coaxed out an entirely new dialogue. This has led us to formulate the issues that are really important to society. The centre will also be collaborating with researchers in several other fields.” Collective active research revolves around things as diverse as corruption, democracy, health care, psychology and technology. Nonetheless, in the beginning, CeCAR will focus primarily on environmental and other resource issues. “It is usually easy enough to gain support for sacrifices that are of immediate benefit. Increasing taxes to pay for schools, medical care or roads is an example. Yet, environmental issues are particularly tricky. They are often about having to give up things now. What is more, the giving up has to be on a global scale. It is also often to prevent catastrophes elsewhere in the world or decades into the future.” S U CC E S S O F T E N requires international agreements. Sverker Jagers feel that, with its provisions on, amongst other things, holding global warming to below two degrees Celsius (compared with pre-industrial levels), last year’s Paris Agreement gives hope. “The agreement has been criticised for not setting out what each state must do. It allows each country to itself decide how it is going to reach the target. However, I feel that this can be the key to success. Of course, it remains to be demonstrated.” Which environmental measures work can indeed depend on, for example, culture and history. In Sweden, for instance, it has not been particularly problematic to introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. This is because the citizens have great confidence in the people in power. There is also little corruption. “In countries such as the United
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
“Environmental problems are basically a question of a lack of collaboration,” maintains Sverker Jagers. He is the director of the newly inaugurated Centre for Collective Action Research (CeCAR). The aims of this body include investigating how environmental issues can be better handled. The solution? Perhaps it is a question of things as disparate as ground elder, fuel cells and trains all the way to China.
Sverker Jagers is the director of the newly inaugurated Centre for Collective Action Research.
»For example, China has plans to build a railway all the way to Germany, a sort of contemporary Silk Road.« SVERKER JAGERS
Kingdom and the USA where, for historical and cultural reasons, there is relatively little faith in the people in power, emission rights trading may work better, even if it has much in common with an environmental tax.” Fairness is also part of environmental issues. For example, should poor countries be prevented from developing simply because the affluent world has caused so many problems? “I strongly sympathise with the idea that people in all countries should have better lives. However, this cannot be achieved free of conditions. For example, India subsidising fossil fuels ought to be unacceptable. If they turned things round and, instead, introduced a fuel tax, this would generate new revenues for the state. These could go towards, for example, public transport. The turn would also provide an incentive for technical developments in the field of energy.” T H E E N V I RO N M E N T is, of course, also a technology issue. Sverker Jagers refers to the major advances made in the efficiency of the standard internal combustion engine over the past 20 years. “Nonetheless, fuel cell engines, which
FACTS C EC AR The Centre for Collective Action Research at the University of Gothenburg is part of UGOT Challenges. The latter is the University of Gothenburg’s major initiative on global societal challenges. CeCAR’s goal is to strengthen and carry out interdisciplinary research with the long-term aim of being able to contribute to the development of a theory that can successfully explain collective action. Sverker Jagers, professor of political science, is CeCAR’s director. More information at www.cecar.se.
can run on almost any energy-rich substance, were invented as early as 1839. When I was at the 1998 climate conference in Buenos Aires, Mercedes presented a car that used fuel cells. Admittedly, it cost a fortune, but the technology itself worked. Thus, we can wonder where we would be today if, instead of combustion engines for cars, we had used fuel cells that only emit a little steam.” Pointing out that environment-friendly technology becomes cheaper as more people invest in it, Sverker Jagers comments: “Many countries in eastern Asia are investing heavily. For example, China has plans to build a railway all the way to Germany, a sort of contemporary Silk Road. South Korea is also putting a great deal of money into environment-friendly technology.” C LE A R LY E N O U G H , the environment is also a question of what we expect from life. For example, for a holiday to be regarded as a success, is it really necessary to fly to Thailand? “On TV’s cookery programmes, there is nearly always a chef stating that we simply must use the root of some exotic water plant flown here from a distant land. Imagine if, instead, the chef suggested a wander round the garden to pick dainties such as thistles, ground elder and wild garlic.” CeCAR will also be collaborating with researchers in other fields, e.g. from UGOT’s Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research. “It’s usually the other way round, with social scientists being included as experts in a natural sciences project,” explains Sverker Jagers. “Here, it is the societal perspective that provides the basis. The role of the natural scientist is very much to help us understand, for example, the problems of ocean acidification, overfishing or toxic emissions.” I N T E R D I S C I PLI N A R IT Y is often held out as necessary for solving today’s complicated global problems. However, science across the boundaries of disciplines can be rather difficult. “We have to learn how to formulate complex issues in way that functions interdisciplinarily. Within CeCAR, for example, we see politics as something that is essentially about collaboration. This opens the way for many different approaches. Earlier, when I was a professor at Luleå University of Technology, I thought I had the world’s coolest job. Yet, being part of building up this centre is hard to beat. I don’t think it can be topped!”
“Macchiarini did not operate in a vacuum” Is Paolo Macchiarini a single, unfortunate exception that really does not have much to do with research in general? Or, on the contrary, is he a symptom of something that has gone very wrong in the academic community’s notion of truth, excellence and the real nature of research? To get answers, GU Journalen interviewed three science philosophers, Dick Kasperowski, Christopher Kullenberg and Niclas Hagen.
“Research is global and local at the same time,” says Christopher Kullenberg.
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
H I S AU T U M N , Science published an investigation indicating that only 36 per cent of a number of psychology experiments could be replicated. Another study showed that economics, with 61 per cent replicability in its experiments, was clearly much better, but still rather unreliable. The articles attracted great attention. This was because the concept of the duplicability of scientific experimentation is something of a code of honour in research. However, Dick Kasperowski divulges that things are really not that simple. “To enable replication by researchers, scientific articles do include a method section detailing how the study was conducted. Yet, the written details are seldom the whole truth. Researchers often choose to omit whatever broke down, was forgotten or did not work.” Because there are always conditions that, for various reasons, are not formulated in the method section, research groups usually invite in colleagues from other higher education institutions. They can then be shown exactly how an experiment was conducted. “ FO R , E V E N I F research is global, it is also extremely local,” comments Christopher Kullenberg. “It isn’t possible to email an experiment from Sweden to China. Correct replication demands a mass of work.” One solution may be to document experiments more meticulously. Filming each element is an example. However, films can be edited. Mistakes or elements that are
»The high hopes of success expounded in research policy may make shortcuts appealing.« NICLAS HAGEN
Niclas Hagen wonders what values the research community rewards.
perhaps seen as irrelevant can be subsequently removed. Another approach might be more systematic documentation. Since 2000, it has been possible to allocate each data set a digital object identifier (DOI). This is similar to the ISBN of a printed book. Thus, the DOI gives a study a special identity in line with a predetermined standard, relates Niclas Hagen. “ N O N E T H E LE S S , the more we standardise and create transparency, the more we lose that ‘unspoken knowledge’ that is so hard to encapsulate, but which, amongst other things, is part of each researcher’s background knowledge and experience. This ‘unspoken knowledge’ is often incredibly important and may determine how successful a study is.” The concepts of openness and replicability in research have roots going all the way back to the 17th century. At that time, the scientist could invite in any willing party when an experiment was to be conducted. “Carrying out an experiment, the 17th century researcher could instruct his public to ‘please observe’,” explains Dick Kasperowski. “In this way, the audience served as a guarantee that the study was, in fact, properly conducted. Around the same time, the first scientific journals with articles subjected to the peer review of other researchers began to appear – the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for example. Through their openness and transparency, the scientists challenged both royal
power and church dogma, thereby creating the ideal that is still with us today.” However, something happened in the 20th century. An increasing number of science philosophers started to doubt that research really was about “the great truth”. the 1930s, Ludwig Fleck pointed out that science also has a social background that locks researchers into a certain way of thinking. Thomas Kuhn later used the term ‘paradigm’ for this mindset,” reveals Niclas Hagen. “There is truth within each individual paradigm, but it cannot be reached from the outside. Moreover, according to Karl Popper, it isn’t really possible to discover any truth at all, only what isn’t true. For even if, throughout our lives, we have seen only black ravens, this certainly does not prove that all ravens are, in fact, black. On the other hand, it takes only one white raven to prove that it is not true that all ravens are black.” While research is becoming ever more specialised and the focus on publication in highly respected journals is increasing, there are also movements in other directions. Christopher Kullenberg gives the example of arXiv, the database that, in 1991, began publishing mathematics and natural science articles before they had been reviewed.
“A S E A R LY A S
“ T H I S N OT O N LY turned the entire review process upside down, it also made the publications available to everyone at an early stage. It is in line with the latest development in ‘open science’. This latter is based on
Dick Kasperowski has turned to Hackerspace to learn the Python programming language.
the publication of all raw data and not just finished articles. Furthermore, all this seems to be extremely good. Yet, it is still rare for researchers to actually use the opportunity to replicate the studies of other researchers. Which backer wants to pay for research that someone else has already done?” Even if there is increasing emphasis on excellence, the importance of social benefit is also starting to attract attention. Christopher Kullenberg exemplifies this with Impactstory, a service supported by an American organisation, the National Science Foundation. “When I used Impactstory to gain an idea of how I was doing as regards collaboration, I learnt that I am in the top 36 per cent of most frequently quoted researchers. This is because, in its collaboration rankings, Impactstory places particular weight on my Wikipedia contributions. Another example is Meltwater, a Norwegian company that trawls the entire internet for all open-access articles and measures quotes and shares as well as how often an article is saved by someone outside the scientific community. As there is open access to over half of everything I write, I rank high here too. Presumably, entering such placings and rankings in CVs will become increasingly important for researchers.” “C ITI Z E N S C I E N C E ” is another ongoing movement. It can involve the general public contributing to research via, for example, observations of nature. Of course, bird watchers and amateur astronomers have been doing this for centuries. However, thanks to the internet, it is now possible to contribute
in a far more structured and global manner than ever before. “It’s also about anyone with a mobile phone, the future’s research platform, being able to amass data on, for example, the water and air where they live,” comments Dick Kasperowski. “This data can then be compared with that of other residents. Why not also extend this to data from people with similar interests in the USA or New Zealand? Mobiles can also be used for research into your own body, for example, pulse and respiration readings while exercising. However, there is the risk that health, like so much else in today’s society, becomes a recorded measurement where illness is no longer a matter of how a person actually feels, but of what a mobile application says.” “Do it yourself by hacking” is yet another new phenomenon in that part of research that is outside the established university and institute framework. “A W H I LE AG O, I wanted to learn the Python programming language and was looking for a suitable course at the University of Gothenburg or Chalmers,” discloses Dick Kasperowski. “I didn’t find one, but was given the tip to turn to Gothenburg Hackerspace. This is where computerinterested adolescents come together and, with no support whatsoever from university, the business world or any organisation, experiment with new technologies. Quite interestingly, the way they work is reminiscent of the 17th century’s open-ended research ideal.” However, do cases such as the Macchiarini scandal and the articles in
Dick Kasperowski, Christopher Kullenberg and Niclas Hagen are researchers at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science. They are involved in, amongst other things, the Researchers, programmers and volunteer contributors transforming science online project. This is financed by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.
Science not show that research cannot really be relied on? “Universities are expected to invest in excellence, to drive innovation and to be an important part of societal development,” says Niclas Hagen. “For the individual researcher, it is important to be as high as possible up the h-index (a measure of activity). While pointing the finger at cheats, we are doing even less to reduce the pressure that can lead people to doctor their results.” Christopher Kullenberg emphasises: “Even if most researchers are highly ethical and would never imagine cheating, the high hopes of success expounded in research policy may make shortcuts appealing. Macchiarini did not operate in a vacuum.” D I C K K A S PE ROW S K I points out that: “Much research leads to what we call negative results. An experiment may, for example, falsify the postulated hypothesis. Such results should also be published. This is partly so that other researchers should not need to put any energy into duplicating already conducted experiments. However, the journals are not especially interested in such, even if this may be changing in line with the emergence of open-access journals like PLOS ONE. Thus, in summary, it can be said that what happened at Karolinska is an extreme and a very troublesome case. At the same time, so that research is both successful and responsible, there are expectations and mechanisms in research policy that need to be discussed further.”
TEXT: EVA LUNDGREN PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
ILLUSTR ATION: KRISTINA EDGREN
Dilemma of Democratic Societies in Framing the Problem of Terrorism A PE R S O N ’ S FA IT H is not written on his face. There is no way a person’s community of faith can be identified by his or her looks. According to Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, every human has two thinking systems, fast and slow. Fast mind looks for quick answers and stereotypes. Slow mind probes deeper and doubts. About fast system he is trying to say that when human mind confronts a difficult question and does not immediately find an answer, it looks for an easy answer, which might not be correct but serve as a substitute for the difficult answer. I N T H E WO R D S of Kahneman human mind tries to substitute easy answer for a difficult one. This is done by stereotyping. In this case we substitute color of the skin, or dress code for faith i.e. race or custom to determine the identity of an individual. However, determining the identity is not sufficient for fixing the responsibility of crime. Crime is
an individual act and must be investigated as an individual crime. In an astonishing twist of logic we put the responsibility of criminal act on a community of faith rather than an individual in societies that believe in individual freedom and responsibility as a cardinal principle. Here again we substitute an easy answer to a difficult answer. Instead of looking into circumstances of the individual act, we substitute the community for individual and try to blame the crime on a community because ‘it is different’, without bothering to know the specific difference of the individual case. In this effort, deranged individuals, clinically diagnosed mental patients, alienated and disillusioned loners, youth suffering from cultural shock, people set up by intelligence agencies are all lumped together with the terrorists and terrorists with ISIS and ISIS with Muslim community. It is again an act of convenience because instead of dealing with the gravity
of situation by drawing insights from individual cases we blame an entire community for a personal act and find an answer to social and political malaise by demonizing a community and demanding its excommunication from the Western societies. T H E L A N G UAG E used to describe the act of terror is therefore very important in determining the nature of social discourse on terrorism; determining whether it becomes a blatant racist narrative or a democratic response to criminal acts. Such response must distinguish between criminals, victims of epistemology of violence and disillusioned and misguided youth with persecution mindset.
FORMER RESEARCHER AT UNIVERSIT Y OF GOTHENBURG (SCHOL ARS AT RISK)
GUJOURNAL 4 | 2016
control the absorption and distribution of drugs in the skin? That is one of several questions studied in a collaborative project regarding topical drug delivery. But what does all this have to do with art? For Jo Berry, a Lecturer in Illustration and doctoral student at Birmingham City University, research and art are very much related indeed. “In the past, before even cameras existed, the researchers were either artists themselves or worked closely with an artist. Today, perhaps the connection art–science is less obvious, but nevertheless it’s there. I myself am constantly fascinated by the scientific process, from the theoretical background to the studies at the microscope.” OW C A N O N E
»In the past, before even cameras existed, the researchers were either artists themselves or worked closely with an artist.« JO BERRY
IT WA S T WO Y E A R S ago that Julia Fernandez Rodriguez, director of the National Centre for Cellular Imaging (CCI) at the Sahlgrenska Academy, came across an exhibition by Jo Berry “Her artwork in two and three dimensions, inspired by microscopy images, made me curious about what she could do with all the images we acquire at our Facility. So, I contacted her and we wrote an Erasmus application together, and now she is here at the CCI on a oneweek exchange.” The images Jo Berry will make art of are part of a research collaboration between Malmö University and the University of Gothenburg. The scientific project aims to create a mechanistic understanding for how topical drug delivery systems can be designed to target, for example, eczema at exactly the right place, and not being systematically taken up by the body. The project is led by Johan Engblom, professor in biomedical technology and director of Biofilms – Research Center for Biointerfaces at Malmö University, and involves several partners from the pharmaceutical industry. Marica Ericson, researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg and coordinator of the Center for Skin Research (SkinResQU), has several years of experience regarding applying optical microscopy techniques within experimental skin research. “CO LL A B O R ATI N G W IT H artists put research in a new perspective. We easily forget that research is actually a creative process. When we want to explain things, we often look for illustrations on the internet, instead of creating our own illustrations of conceptual insights. If we would dare illustrate and visualize our research, we might get both new insights and better contact with the general public. We can actually get inspiration from artists, and maybe this will make it easier to get funding, because we can then show our research in a really interesting and new way!”
TEXT: EVA LUNDGREN ILLUSTRATIONS : JO BERRY
Julia Fernandez Rodriguez shows Jo Berry one of many pictures that may inspire new works of art.
The abridged version of the University of Gothenburg staff magazine, GU Journal. October issue of 2016. Read about the Macchiarini scandal a...
Published on Sep 30, 2016
The abridged version of the University of Gothenburg staff magazine, GU Journal. October issue of 2016. Read about the Macchiarini scandal a...