Popular sciences

Nauka

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Nauka | 2021 | No 2 |

Authors and Affiliations

Jerzy M. Brzeziński
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Abstract

The direct motivation for this article is the publication of two updates of the Polish Journal Rankings on 9 and 18 February 2021, which were prepared by the Minister of Education and Science and bypassed the Research Evaluation Commission. This article aims to characterize the changes made by the minister in relation to the draft ranking prepared by the commission. For providing a complete picture of the changes, I describe the main principles for building the ranking according to the new model implemented in 2018. Then, I characterize the minister's changes in terms of added journals and changing the points assigned to the journals. The analysis is provided through the lens of the universities publishing these journals and the disciplines assigned to the journals. The article concludes by identifying four main recommendations that should be implemented to restore the usefulness of the ranking as an instrument of science policy.
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Authors and Affiliations

Emanuel Kulczycki
1 2

  1. Pracownia Komunikacji Naukowej na Uniwersytecie im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
  2. Komisja Ewaluacji Nauki
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Abstract

The article asks the questions:
– How far can the authorities interfere with freedom of speech/freedom of scientific research? By what means and how can one effectively defend oneself against direct and indirect interference and manipulation?
– Can it be punished if someone considers the results of research to violate his or her personal rights (an open catalog: e.g. good name, cult of the deceased, or even “the right to national identity and pride”)? Is it then possible to demand withdrawal/correction of the scientist's findings or compensation?
Today, threats to the freedom of scientific research are made not so much by censoring science as by threatening the autonomy of universities; controlling the conditions of doing science (its dissemination); discouraging certain topics; self-censorship caused by a chilling effect. This is dangerous in flawed democracies, where no attention is paid to pluralism in the exercise of freedom and to ensuring some minimum protection of minority interests and proclaimed views. And at the same time in poor countries, where little resources are allocated to science, which induces the phenomenon of “chasing away from the bowl” and “rewarding with a better bowl”. Money allocated to science is a very effective means of both promoting and eliminating views. The existence of this phenomenon increases the perceived threat to freedom, even without explicitly encroaching on it (the chilling effect). Freedom of speech, freedom of scientific research are exposed to a specific threat conducted on attacks and an attempt to limit or even eliminate them – paradoxically – in the name of allegedly threatened pluralism of ideas and views. In this situation, the attackers use the idea of protecting individual freedom for expansive purposes. Not in the name of freedom of expression of one's own axiology, but in the name of forbidding this expression to others.
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Authors and Affiliations

Ewa Łętowska
1

  1. Instytut Nauk Prawnych PAN
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Abstract

One of the most common and dangerous conflicts in contemporary democracies is related to cultural differences in understanding of the basic principles of social organization. Such conflict is developing also in Poland. Its most recent manifestation is the serious confrontation between the new appointed Minister of Education and Science of the Polish government and the large part of the Polish scientific community. In the first part of the paper, I analyze on the basis of his publication the minister’s socio-political worldview. I am implying that it may explain his conflict arousing policy. I am focusing on his concept of the natural law and his use of this concept, on his understandings of democracy and secular state, and on his interpretation of minority rights in democracy. I am concluding that he represents the ultraconservative (right-wing) version of the Roman Catholic worldview and is trying to impose its implications on the Polish education as well as scientific institutions. In the second part of the paper, I am analyzing sociopsychological preconditions of cultural conflicts and factors that may determine the radicalization of these conflicts.
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Authors and Affiliations

Janusz Reykowski
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Abstract

Higher education system in Poland has undergone in the years 1989–2020 the process of profound changes. The logic and the philosophy of the reforms of the Polish HEI have stayed in the broad frame of New Public Management, thus being convergent with the public policies addressed to academic institutions in US and Europe (Ferlie, Musselin, Andresani 2008). The circumstances of implementing the NPM driven reforms were, however, very specific in Poland: on the one hand, the modernization of the HE institutions took place in the context of the profound, wholistic systemic transformation. On the other, Polish academia entered the new era with the resources, habits and traditions that had been shaped by the past experiences. The paper is the case study of the Polish HEI after 1989. I aim to identify the processes and mechanisms that have been put into motion by the solutions and regulations adopted by the public authorities – privatization, performance based funding and decentralization in the first place. In the frame of NPM, public authorities supersede planning by steering via setting the boundary conditions and payoffs matrix in such a way as to encourage – or make rational – to move in a certain, desired direction. I argue this kind of steering resulted in many negative externalities, including instrumentalization of the HEI missions and erosion of the academic ethos.
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Authors and Affiliations

Anna Giza
1

  1. Wydział Socjologii Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
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Abstract

The paper formulates several critical observations about the official (established by Polish legal statutes) rules of evaluation scientific publications. These rules are based on so-called parameterization, that is, ascription of points to papers and books published by scientists. The criticism is made from the point of view of the humanities and social sciences, although some assertions have a more general character. Although the author shares the opinion that evaluation of science is necessary, he points out several disadvantages of parameterization. One of them consists in the fact that the ascription of points to publications uses a relatively weak scale, that is, based on the ordering relation. This feature essentially limits the range of mathematical operations admissible to results of measuring in such a way. This situation results in conventional character of parameterization, contrary to expectations that it successfully display the real value of scientific achievements. The paper illustrates this problem by concrete examples as well as shows that parameterization makes possible pathological cases stemming from political and world-view preferences.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jan Woleński
1

  1. Wyższa Szkoła Informatyki i Zarządzania w Rzeszowie
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Abstract

For many years, the Polish Academy of Sciences has been undertaking activities aimed at increasing the international importance of Polish scientific research by establishing cooperation with international scientific institutions and supporting the participation of Polish scientists in international research programs. Currently, the Polish Academy of Sciences has six scientific centers abroad – in Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Brussels and Kiev. These institutions have different origins. The oldest ones, in Rome and Paris, continue the tradition of Polish emigration from the 19th century. These traditions are also referred to by the much younger station in Vienna, which to some extent has continued the activities of Polish diaspora organizations operating in this area since the beginning of the 20th century. The centers in Berlin and Kiev are relatively young. The first was established in 1996 as the Representation of the German Academic Exchange Service and transformed in 2006 into the Historical Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin. The youngest of the centers has been operating in Kiev since 2013 under the name of the Representation “Polish Academy of Sciences” in Kiev. The Office for the Promotion of Science PolSCA in Brussels, established in 2006, has a different character. Due to its location, the specificity of this facility consists in developing scientific and scientific-technical cooperation through the promotion and expert support of Polish partners in the framework programs of the European Union. The activities of these institutions emphasize the presence of science, culture and intellectual achievements of Poland in the European research area, which is important for building the image of our country abroad. The Polish Academy of Sciences scientific centers are therefore a kind of scientific attaché of the Republic of Poland, the more so as Polish embassies in these six countries do not have such an attaché. The article analyzes the administrative, financial and legal conditions of the station's operation and the expectations towards their substantive activity from the point of view of the Academy's management.
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Authors and Affiliations

Roman Słowiński
1

  1. Polska Akademia Nauk, wiceprezes
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Abstract

Based on a visual analysis of the heart of Frederic Chopin performed in 2014 and described above, it can be stated with high probability that the composer suffered from a long lasting tuberculosis as a primary disease, which was the cause of progressive deterioration of his physical condition and numerous symptoms mainly from the respiratory tract. Tuberculous pericarditis rapidly progressing within a rather short period of time, a relatively rare complication of diffuse tuberculosis, might have been an immediate cause of death. This would aptly coincide with a startling opinion that in an autopsy picture the composer’s heart had been more affected by the disease than the lungs.
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Authors and Affiliations

Michał Witt
1

  1. Instytut Genetyki Człowieka PAN, Poznań
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Abstract

The late Jerzy Limon was a true Renaissance Man, a scholar who made it known to the world that English players of the early 17th century had founded a permament stage in Gdańsk in the so-called “Fencing School”, modelled on the London “Fortune”. Jerzy Limon had a theatre erected in that very spot in 2014: Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, home to many events, especially Shakespeare Festival, which Jerzy Limon launched in the Tricity 1997. Jerzy Limon wrote extensively on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, court masque, contributed significantly to the theory of theatre, especially with his concept of time. He composed fiction, and authored translations (of Shakespeare's and Stoppard's plays). His research and other achievements were widely recognised: among many prestigious honours and prizes that were conferred on him one finds Order of the British Empire and Pragnell Award.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jacek Fabiszak
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Abstract

Professor Mieczysław Chorąży, one of the most eminent Polish biomedical scientists, died on February 20, 2021 at the age of 95. He was bid farewell with military honors at the Powązki Military Cemetary in Warsaw. He was buried close to his comrades in arms from the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Mieczysław Chorąży was born in Janówka, a small village in Podlasie, in 1925. His education was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II which took away his mother, who died of typhus. He then decided to become a doctor. He was a member of the Home Army and fought in the Warsaw Uprising as soldier (nickname “Grom”) of the Baszta Regiment. In 1951 he graduated from the Medical Academy in Warsaw and was ordered to work at the then State Cancer Institute in Gliwice where he remained professionally active until the very end of his life. Following scientific internships at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research in Madison and Sloan- Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York in the early sixties he developed a method for isolating metaphase chromosomes from murine lymphocytic leukemia cells, used in DNA uptake experiments. In the 70s, he studied repeating and unique DNA sequences, DNA transcription mechanisms, activity of RNA polymerases and inhibition of cancer cell replication. Together with Kazimierz Dux, he authored in 1973 the “Introduction to the biology of cancer”, which at the time was the most important work in the field in Polish scientific literature. Mieczysław Chorąży was an outstanding authority in the field of environmental
mutagenesis and molecular epidemiology. The results of his research on DNA and chromosome damage in people from industry-polluted areas aroused wide interest worldwide. His Laboratory of Environmental Mutagenesis showed aberrations in metaphasal chromosomes caused by air pollution and correlated DNA adduct levels with concentration of polycyclic hydrocarbons in the air, including known carcinogens. Professor Chorąży research team revealed distinctive spectrum of mutations in the p53 suppressor gene among the inhabitants of Upper Silesia and characterized gene polymorphisms that determine individual sensitivity to carcinogens and functioning of DNA repair system. In his late years, Professor Mieczysław Chorąży was passionate about systems biology, research into chaos and early life on Earth. He was the supervisor of 18 doctoral theses, and five of his doctoral students later became professors. In the darker times of Poland’s national past, thanks to his wisdom and foresight, contacts were maintained with eminent researchers abroad allowing many Poles to pursue training in the USA, France, Germany and elsewhere. At the Professor’s initiative young scientists from the countries that emerged after the collapse of the USSR were able to continue their research in Gliwice thanks to scholarship awards granted by EACR and NCI-NIH. Mieczysław Chorąży was appointed professor in 1983. He was a doctor h.c. of medical universities in Katowice and Białystok. Since 1986 he was a full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Professor was also the member of Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for Cancer Research, European Association for Cancer Research, Polish Biochemical Society, Polish Cancer Society (president 1974–1978), member of the scientific councils of Oncology Center in Warsaw, the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy in Wrocław, the Institute of Human Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań and the Center for Polymer and Carbon Materials in Zabrze. In recognition of his scientific achievements and involvement in social and educational activities, insurgent struggle and shaping patriotic attitudes, Professor Mieczysław Chorąży received numerous distinctions and awards, including the Order of the White Eagle (2017), Polish supreme distinction. He was then eulogized as the “…nestor of oncology in Poland, outstanding scientist, founder of the Polish school of cancer biology, Warsaw insurgent, social activist, teacher and moral authority”. Professor received also the Lux ex Silesia award (2018) in recognition to his lasting contribution to the protection of Silesian cultural heritage. Professor Chorąży always opposed imprudent demolition of the reminders of industrial past of Upper Silesia, advocated sustainable development, and protecting green areas. Among various talents, Professor Chorąży was blessed with a gift of painting. Some of his watercolors and sketches embellish today the hall of the National Institute of Oncology in Gliwice. But Mieczysław Chorąży, the true man of virtue, will be perhaps best remembered for his kindness and concern for others, which brought him respect and love. He will be missed by very many people from all walks of life. Honor to His memory!
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Authors and Affiliations

Katarzyna Lisowska
1
Zdzisław Krawczyk
2

  1. Centrum Badań Translacyjnych i Biologii Molekularnej Nowotworów, Narodowy Instytut Onkologii im. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie, Oddział w Gliwicach
  2. Narodowy Instytut Onkologii im. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie, Oddział w Gliwicach

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