answer to Bee’s comment

The following post is an answer to a reply by bee on the randform post before last.

There are three main criteria in my proposal of consciencement in the randform post before last which I would like to emphasize again.

The platform would have a (more or less) strong representative character in that it would represent the global scientific community. Secondly the funding of the platform should be made by the universities themselves. I.e. the universities would provide the infrastructure (rooms for scientists, computer hook-ups, the network etc.) they would pay the scientist (faculty). One could think about a one-time fundraising campaign in order to get things going. However in the working mode the platform should be independent of additional funding – it should be a universities thing. Wether the universities get extra funding for this additional service to the public is another question. However it is clear that such a platform would be a good mean to inform about the sometimes dramatically bad financial situation of universities. The third criteria is that the platform would connect universities and disciplines for open discourse (May be I should have mentioned that more explicitly in the above post: it is clear that next to a scientific question, there has to be an open discussion forum (related to the question) and a library, which links to scientific studies which are related with the question).

The example in your post, the organisation/platform sense about science, meets the above criteria only very partially, in that it is much less representative, it depends on the goodwill of its sponsors (which consists of quite a bit of private corporations and learned societies as it seems) and it provides not really a collaborative tool.

I believe that ‘sense about science’ collected a lot of experiences regarding the actual workflow and in particular in being a mediator. It seems to make sense to include them in the establishment of such a platform and even use their experiences in the operational stage.

There is already a platform which connects educational institutions namely that of the UNESCO. However it is rather an organisatorial platform, i.e. it connects institutions but doesnt provide a platform for collaboration on scientific issues and open discourse. But I hope that UNESCO could jump in to organize this (e.g. via UNITWIN .) Setting up an international conference with all bigger university presidents in the world, experts on global online collaboration and in juridicial questions could be a start.
In special questions it may also be worthwhile to make connections to ngo’s like the World Future Council. ( website)

There is another aspect one should mention. Often the scientific questions to be discussed are in strong relation to e.g. economical, juridicial and ethical questions. A natural-scientific judgement may need to be evaluated or juxtaposed in terms of considerations with respect to “realizability” and ethics. An example: The use of genetically modified plants may impose severe health risks. I don’t hope that it gets thus far, but it may come the point where one has to use genetically modified plants in order to feed the planet. (it is not necessary up to now I think!). So this question has to be discussed in conjunction with these constraints or at least juxtaposed to them. This is why the platform could also further interdisciplinarity.

Surely you are right with the assertion that “It’s about time we incorporate this knowledge [about adaptive management etc.] into the organization of our societies.” However the proposed platform would rather further these processes.

With “road map on when to vote again and on how to prepare for changes” I guess I meant a what you called feedback process.

P.S. Regarding the MS Explorer I think there is a bug in the browser. I feel that my patience had been a bit too overstrained. I tested the site with Opera, Mozilla and firefox and checked it with html validator (which mourned only about the empty blogroll). May be I oversaw something in the process. I may look further into the problem if I find the time, but my motivation is not very high at the moment. I currently prefer firefox – last but not least for safety reasons.

2 Responses to “answer to Bee’s comment”

  1. nad Says:

    P.S. (16.1.08)
    There is now something in the blogroll, hope that repairs the MS explorer bug. ?

  2. nad Says:

    P.P.S. (22.2.08)
    The MS Explorer bug was no bug. The reason for the layout problem was that the scaling of the randform box was not obviously not well adjusted.

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