The spread of pseudoscientific beliefs and opinions is one of the more serious problems of modern societies. Pseudoscientific beliefs and opinions question the authority of science and may lead to serious harms to individuals and whole societies. In recognition of these hazards, the Committee of Ethics in Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences submits the following statement for the consideration of researchers, teachers in higher education and primary and secondary schools, as well as institutions which are responsible for education, and the society at large. The statement characterizes pseudoscience, its main causes and forms, as well as its key ethical aspects. It also contains recommendations for scientists and academic institutions on the appropriate responses to this troubling phenomenon.
This study presents an analysis of the unprecedented growth of international research collaboration in Europe in terms of distribution of co-authorship and citation of globally indexed publications over the last decade (2009–2018). The dynamics of change that emerge from this analysis are as follows: the increasing level of international cooperation is drawing key European systems away from institutional cooperation, with stable and strong national cooperation. National scientific output, i.e. the total number of publications, remains stable, and the entire increase in the number of publications over the period should be attributed to international co-authorship publications, which are the only driving force behind the increase in the number of publications in Europe. Due to the emergence of global networked science, in which the role of national policies in cooperation is decreasing and the role of scientists is growing, the key to the development of cooperation in Europe (and in Poland) is the readiness of individual scientists to undertake international cooperation. Researchers cooperate internationally when it is profitable for them in terms of academic prestige, scientific recognition and access to research funding, which is suggested by the three models proposed here (the model of credibility cycle in science, the model of prestige maximization and the model of global science). The total number of analyzed articles indexed in the Scopus database was 5.5 million, including 2.2 million articles written in international cooperation.
The main statement of the paper is that the post-truth is expanding at an unprecedented rate, continuously forcing itself into new areas of public life and permeating millions of minds. This phenomenon has not so far been satisfactorily explained by researchers of global-range social phenomena. The paper presents various definitions of post-truth and its interpretations. The argument revolves around what truth means and what it is threatened by, as well as the most important institution that is, by definition, concerned about the truth: the university. The article outlines the functions of the university and contemporary conditions of its functioning, including the threats to the preservation of its mission and axiological foundation: striving towards the truth. The idea of the university, created in Europe at the beginning of the second millennium, has shown to be strong and durable. It has adopted various organisational forms, depending on the period and region. The secret of the universities’ persistence and meaning cannot be considered apart from the history of the European civilisation. However, the phenomenon of post-truth expansion is the most serious threat to this institution. The expansion of post-truth also leads to changes in the quality of the public life, bringing about its degeneration, with considerable contributions of the numerous pathologies of the Internet, distribution of lies and surprisingly quickly growing acceptance of this phenomenon.
In these remarks I do undertake one more time the attempt to answer the following question: what do agnostics really want? This issue is so complicated that even the agnostics themselves had great trouble in delivering the answer. This is also related to these agnostics, such as the recalled here Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Stephen W. Hawking, who belong to the greatest format of scholars. The agnostics are being distanced from, both the atheists and theists. However they do judge differently their views it is important that as well the first as the latter ones may appreciate what stands behind agnosticism and this might be very variable.
Stem cells exist and can do a lot. For several decades, bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants containing haematopoietic stem cells have been used in the treatment of blood diseases. Genetic modifications (gene therapy) of such cells help to cure complex immunodeficiencies and severe anaemias. The limbal stem cells taken from the eye and properly multiplied can regenerate the damaged cornea, and the epidermal stem cells help in the treatment of severe burns and some hereditary, severe skin diseases. Promising experimental research is under way on other uses of stem cells. However, these cells are appropriately selected, having real ability to differentiate into specialized cells whose malfunction is the cause of the disease. Therapeutic applications of stem cells are apparently limited to date. Meanwhile, the Internet is full of advertisements for supposedly miraculous treatments for almost any disease. Stem cells have become a modern synonym of the Holy Grail. A wonderful dish, transforming every drink into elixir of health, youth and long life. Stem cells from a single source, e.g., umbilical cord blood, or so-called cells, although without proven properties of stem cells, are offered in commercial private clinics as a panacea for autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, eye diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dozens other disorders. Without justification for their action in these diseases, without convincing evidence of safety, but for a high fee. This article discusses stem cells and misunderstandings about including any cells among them. It draws attention to the real possibilities and confirmed uses of stem cells and presents the problems, doubts and dangers for patients associated with commercial offers of treatments using “stem” cells. The author cites the positions of scientific institutions and societies warning against premature commercialization of unjustified and potentially dangerous therapies.
In recent years, two developments revolutionized the molecular genetics. The first one is an enormously improved technique of the DNA sequencing. It is now possible to obtain in couple of hours and on the low cost, the full sequence of the human genome. The second one is the invention of the CRISPR-Cas technique, which allows the precise manipulations of genomes of living organisms. This technique was already successfully applied to “repair” human genes responsible for hereditary diseases. To some astonishment, applications of genetic engineering to humans does not bring protests of general public, while similar manipulations pf plants genomes are considered an dangerous. In Poland and in some other countries, parliaments introduced an extremely restrictive laws, which in practice makes cultivation of GM plants outside laboratories impossible. This is caused by the ignorance of the general public and by opposition of catholic church which considers genetic modifications of all organisms as contradictory with Gods will. The most common modification of plants is an introduction into their genomes of the single gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringensis, what make the plant resistant to harmful insects. According to WHO, neither the manipulation mentioned above, nor manipulations of the other kind, do not pose any danger to humans.
This article uses the model of dependency between centers and peripheries of scientific knowledge production to create a theoretical framework for investigating predatory journals. The framework is presented as an alternative to the dominant ways of the problem's characterization. Predatory journals are so far described mostly as a newly emerging phenomenon strongly connected with publishing in Open Access and fraudulent publishers. In this article, I argue that predatory publishers are recognized as illegitimate by the center of knowledge production. This geopolitically situated approach let me look more critically on the ways of assigning this illegitimacy. It also allows me to define the ostensible center and reveal a mechanism for functioning many journals accused of being predatory. The ostensible center is understood as an institution disseminating knowledge that is invisible or illegitimate to the center. However, at the same time some actors see an ostensible center as belonging to the center. The presented terms are analytical tools for further research that might enable us to get a wider picture of a modern global system of knowledge production and point out its antiegalitarian mechanism.
The main contradictions, between hypotheses posed by physical anthropologists or geneticists, and the hypotheses put forward by archaeologists or historians, regarding the origin and spread of the Slavs, concerned and still concern the following: (a) the state and biological dynamics of Slavic populations (the capacity for population expansion) , (b) diversity and biological similarity of various groups living in Central Europe at the end of antiquity and in the early Middle Ages, (c) migration movements and their intensity, (d) directions of migration and their importance in the formation of Slavic “ethnos”. On the basis of the results of anthropological research, it can be concluded that: (a) both in the late antiquity period and in the early Middle Ages, the regional diversity of the populations inhabiting the Odra and Vistula basins was maintained, (b) there was a geographical gradient in the variability of morphological features of the skull from west to east of Europe, (c) populations belonging to the Germanic population and populations living in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages clearly differed in terms of morphological features of the skeleton from the population of Western Slavs inhabiting the Odra and Vistula basin. On the other hand, the emergence of a clear geographical gradient in the variability of morphological features of the skeleton, in late antiquity and in the Middle Ages, in Central Europe, allows to conclude that there were no intense migratory movements and the population exchange between late antiquity and the early Middle (d) results of the skeletal morphological features and state and biological dynamics of the population from the Roman period and the Middle Ages indicate a similar level of adaptation of these groups of people to living conditions. This result does not confirm the thesis put forward by some archaeologists and historians that the cultural system of the Slavs was characterized by poverty and a low level of material culture.
Professor Jan Gliński was born on 4 April 1933 in Pińsk. He graduated from the Lublin Higher School of Agriculture, where he obtained his Master of Engineering Degree in Agriculture. In 1964, ten years after beginning his work at the School at the Soil Science Department, he was awarded a doctoral degree for his Copper forms in soils of the Łęczyńsko-Włodawskie Lakeland dissertation, and in 1968 he obtained a postdoctoral degree in the field of agricultural sciences on the basis of his thesis Impact of some soil-forming factors on the content and distribution of micronutrients in soil profiles. In 1971 Jan Gliński began his work at the Department of Agrophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) in Lublin. Three years later he was granted the title of associate professor, and in 1980 he was promoted to full professor. Soon he became the head of the Department, and in 1987 the director of the Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences (in 1986 the Department of Agrophysics, PAS became the Institute of Agrophysics, PAS), the post he held till 2003. Polish Academy of Sciences elected him as a corresponding member in 1991, and in 2002 he became a full member of the Academy. Professor’s scientific achievements consist of over 350 works (i.a. 26 monographs, 220 studies and dissertations, 5 books, 18 patents). His scientific work was focused mainly on the physicochemical soil properties, with particular regard to soil oxidoreductive processes. His soil oxygenation research resulted in two co-authored books: Soil Aeration and its Role for Plants (1985) and Soil Physical Conditions and Plant Roots (1990), published in the US by CRC Press. Professor Gliński was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Life Sciences in Lublin (2010) and from the Lviv National Agrarian University in Dublany and the Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University (2011). Professor Jan Gliński was a remarkable scientist and scholar, a kind, warm and friendly man, who always stayed willing to serve us with professional advice and support. His colleagues will remember him as their moral and academic authority. Professor died at the age of 86. The funeral service was held on 10 January 2020 at the Lipowa Cemetery in Lublin. Along with the family, numerous representatives of the Polish Academy of Sciences, academic community, local authorities and Professor’s colleagues and friends attended the ceremony.
NAUKA jest czasopismem Polskiej Akademii Nauk wydawanym kwartalnie w języku polskim lub angielskim. Czasopismo publikuje recenzowane prace naukowe, artykuły przeglądowe, polemiczne, wspomnieniowe, recenzje oraz listy do redakcji.
Nadsyłane prace prosimy przygotowywać za pomocą typowego edytora tekstu zgodnie z podanymi poniżej zaleceniami. Prosimy o dostarczenie dwóch egzemplarzy wydruku pracy na papierze formatu A-4 z szerokim marginesem po lewej stronie, po około 30 wierszy na stronie.
Wydruk nie powinien zawierać poprawek, podkreśleń i spacjowań. Praca powinna zawierać streszczenie (maksymalnie 200 słów) oraz słowa kluczowe (trzy do sześciu). Kolejne akapity należy rozpoczynać wcięciem. Jeśli praca napisana jest w języku polskim, to wówczas tytuł pracy, słowa kluczowe oraz streszczenie należy dostarczyć również w języku angielskim.
Do przesyłanego wydruku tekstu pracy i kompletu ponumerowanych rycin (po 2 egzemplarze) prosimy dołączyć:
a) pismo, w którym pierwszy autor zwraca się do redakcji o wydrukowanie pracy w czasopiśmie (jest to formalna zgoda autora na publikację pracy), podaje swój dokładny adres, zatrudnienie, numer telefonu, adres e-mailowy oraz podpis wraz z podaniem tytułu naukowego oraz stanowiska;
b) pisemne oświadczenie, że praca nie była dotąd ogłoszona drukiem i nie została złożona w innej redakcji. W przypadku wykorzystywania rycin uprzednio opublikowanych lub pochodzących od innych autorów należy dołączyć pisemną zgodę autorów i wydawnictwa na ich wykorzystanie;
c) opisaną dyskietkę lub CD z tekstem całej pracy; w przypadku stosowania nietypowego edytora tekstu należy dołączyć również plik w formacie RTF lub ASCII. Zawartość wersji elektronicznej powinna być identyczna z przesłanym wydrukiem. W przypadku przesyłania elektronicznej wersji ilustracji należy umieszczać poszczególne ilustracje w oddzielnych plikach, podając nazwę programu, za pomocą którego zostały wykonane.
Jakość ilustracji powinna pozwalać na ich bezpośrednią reprodukcję. Ilustracje w formie map bitowych muszą mieć rozdzielcz
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