Why has Continental Europe put themselves back regarding Science compared to Anglo-Saxon world?

Mar 2018
662
UK
#21
How can you ask for "a reference for whether Novel prizes are a good metric" or not? Surely this is a matter of judgement with arguments for and against, it is not something you can prove with a study or by referring to some ficticiously more authoritative and objective third party?

There is a great division between how scientist's percieve science is done and how the public percieve science is done. Most aspiring scientists I know (a grand total of under 5, so not very impressive, but also not non-existant) stress the principles of collective work, co-operation and so on. The public often does not percieve things this way. Coming as a relative outsider, it seems probable the scientists have a more complete and detailed view of their own work, as they (or perhaps I should say "you") are in the literal thick of it. On the other hand academia (I have dabbled in the humanities, not the sciences, but I take it the psychological incentives are similar) is notorious for gatekeeping and fights over prestige that to the outside world seem borderline absurd. While I am sure most scientists have greater knowledge of the way they do research, I am not at all convinced that scientists are less prone to self-deception than anybody else, and what constitutes or do not constitue "greatness" in a field so completely defined by its intellectual pursuits surely has to be a prime candidate for a matter in which self-deception is ripe, if anything... For these reasons I think you are a bit too quick to dismiss "public intuition" about this. But I could be wrong of course.


Also, there is an interesting case to be made that technology in itself can drive scientific research. For most of human history after all, it was by applying your findings and thereby actually testing them against the real world that you could get some kind of final arbitration for whether or not the principle or truth you had discovered was workable. Nassim Taleb (one of my personal, if idiosyncratic, heroes) makes the case the applied sciences and often play a similar kind of role today through technology. But I see your point...

You're of course right, what I meant to say "Can you provide an example of someone investigation science policy, science funding, science advocacy or the like who uses Nobel prizes as a metric for how good the research done in a country is?" If the professionals don't use Nobel prizes as a metric, I don't think we should either. By professionals here I don't mean the scientists themselves, but those who investigate how science is done. Plenty of people do this in government, or to allocate grant money, or as a branch of sociology in it's own right.

I broadly agree with the rest of your post, but I'm not sure I see it's relevance here? As for tech influencing science - it absolutely definitely does. But tech spreads incredibly quickly, you don't have to be where the tech was invented to be the first to apply it to some domain of science. As a very recent example take CRISPR: invented in the USA but a (rogue) Chinese scientist was the first to apply it to have gene-edited human babies.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,091
#22
As a very recent example take CRISPR: invented in the USA but a (rogue) Chinese scientist was the first to apply it to have gene-edited human babies.
Is that what they say in the US, or what?

Considering the complexity of the discovery as a process – with a US presence certainly, but more indicative of all manner of European research present – part of the answer to the OP might as well be: "Because the bloody Americans take credit for everything."
CRISPR Timeline
 
Likes: Olleus
Mar 2018
662
UK
#23
Is that what they say in the US, or what?

Considering the complexity of the discovery as a process – with a US presence certainly, but more indicative of all manner of European research present – part of the answer to the OP might as well be: "Because the bloody Americans take credit for everything."
CRISPR Timeline
I should have checked my example. I believed it was a US thing because of a patent (and patent dispute) there about it. But if anything this shows that science is so intertwined that trying to say what happens in which country is rather meaningless!
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,800
SoCal
#24
You can look at the data here:
Country outputs | Nature Index

Institutions in Germany + UK + France + Switzerland publish almost as many papers in Nature (top scientific journal in the world) as the USA. This is despite those 4 countries together having only about half the population of the USA. Continental Europe has most definitely not left science behind. Stop trying to explain things that aren't true; it's a completely meaningless exercise.
How do the East Asian countries compare in regards to this?
 
Apr 2018
836
Upland, Sweden
#25
You're of course right, what I meant to say "Can you provide an example of someone investigation science policy, science funding, science advocacy or the like who uses Nobel prizes as a metric for how good the research done in a country is?" If the professionals don't use Nobel prizes as a metric, I don't think we should either. By professionals here I don't mean the scientists themselves, but those who investigate how science is done. Plenty of people do this in government, or to allocate grant money, or as a branch of sociology in it's own right.

I broadly agree with the rest of your post, but I'm not sure I see it's relevance here? As for tech influencing science - it absolutely definitely does. But tech spreads incredibly quickly, you don't have to be where the tech was invented to be the first to apply it to some domain of science. As a very recent example take CRISPR: invented in the USA but a (rogue) Chinese scientist was the first to apply it to have gene-edited human babies.
Allright.

Good points.
 
Apr 2018
836
Upland, Sweden
#26
I should have checked my example. I believed it was a US thing because of a patent (and patent dispute) there about it. But if anything this shows that science is so intertwined that trying to say what happens in which country is rather meaningless!
If that is the case though, then surely whoever claims credit as @Larrey pointed out - becomes even more meaningful, in the fight for research grants etc. Perhaps this is the true American advantage? The omniprescence and intertwining of science globally really means that it is the quality of your financial infrastructure, management consultants and powerpoint presentations that becomes essential, rather than the actual science being done (looked at from the perspective of national policy) :think::p
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,091
#27
To an extent its the entire point of "science" as an ideological construct. It is supposed to be universal and international. Research otoh tends to be what's done locally within those long intertwined networks of modern science.

The US post-WWII was also rather clever in how it opened its own national financing structures (vastly larger than anyone else's at the time) for international competition. The point was never that them other fellers should win, but that they should spur US researchers to become even more competitive.
 
Apr 2018
836
Upland, Sweden
#28
To an extent its the entire point of "science" as an ideological construct. It is supposed to be universal and international. Research otoh tends to be what's done locally within those long intertwined networks of modern science.

The US post-WWII was also rather clever in how it opened its own national financing structures (vastly larger than anyone else's at the time) for international competition. The point was never that them other fellers should win, but that they should spur US researchers to become even more competitive.
Right.

Interesting. You seem to know a bit about this - how did the US tweak their own financing structures to their advantage? I lack detailed knowledge on this topic, but I think I understand the broad outlines. Do you have any good research on this? Or just a good story would do too
 
Apr 2018
836
Upland, Sweden
#29
How do the East Asian countries compare in regards to this?
Papers in Nature per country

They are doing quite well, but perhaps not as well as one could expect (but that would of course depend on what your expectations). China is second in total article count, but China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore together seem to account for around a third of the amount of papers from "the West". It is also striking that some very small Western countries like Denmark have more articles than a comparatively larger country like Taiwan.

One possibility is that a lot of research in those countries is not being translated into English in the same degree. Another possibility is that there simply is not as much research as one might expect. A third possibility is that the importance of articles in Nature is an even clumsier pointer to the levels of "scientific performance" than has been assumed...
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,800
SoCal
#30
Papers in Nature per country

They are doing quite well, but perhaps not as well as one could expect (but that would of course depend on what your expectations). China is second in total article count, but China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore together seem to account for around a third of the amount of papers from "the West". It is also striking that some very small Western countries like Denmark have more articles than a comparatively larger country like Taiwan.

One possibility is that a lot of research in those countries is not being translated into English in the same degree. Another possibility is that there simply is not as much research as one might expect. A third possibility is that the importance of articles in Nature is an even clumsier pointer to the levels of "scientific performance" than has been assumed...
For what it's worth, a 2015 study appears to have reached the conclusion that, on average, East Asians really are less creative than Europeans are:

SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class journal research
 

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