Slow Science

Picture of a field of tulips located in Cardiff

I had the opportunity to give a talk about Slow Science at the online conference LiveMEEG2020 last October. You can access my slides [here] to have an overview of my presentation. Below, I have added the various references and resources I could accumulate on the topic, as well as some existing initiatives that promote better / alternative ways of doing science.

Scientific papers

  • Berg, L.D., Huijbens, E.H., Larsen, H.G. (2016). Producing anxiety in the neoliberal university. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 60: 168-180. [DOI]
  • Chapman, C. A., … & Stenseth, N. C. (2019). Games academics play and their consequences: how authorship, h-index and journal impact factors are shaping the future of academia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286: 20192047. [DOI]
  • Frith, U. (2019). Fast Lane to Slow Science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. [DOI]
  • Hatch, A. and Curry, S. (2020). Research Culture: Changing how we evaluate research is difficult, but not impossible. eLife 2020;9:e58654 [DOI]
  • Lancaster, A.K., Thessen, A.E., Virapongse, A. (2018). A new paradigm for the scientific enterprise: nurturing the ecosystem. F1000 Research. [DOI]
  • Peake, L., & Mullings, B. (2016). Critical Reflections on Mental and Emotional Distress in the Academy. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 15(2), 253-284. [DOI]
  • Salo, P. & Heikkinen, H.L.T. (2018). Slow Science: Research and Teaching for Sustainable Praxis. Confero, 6(1), 87-211. [DOI]
  • Smaldino, P. E., & McElreath, R. (2016). The natural selection of bad science. Royal Society Open Science, 3: 160384. [DOI]
  • Vazire, S. (2017). Quality Uncertainty Erodes Trust in Science. Collabra: Psychology, 3(1), 1. [DOI]
  • Ylijoki, O.-H., & Mäntylä, H. (2003). Conflicting Time Perspectives in Academic Work. Time & Society, 12(1), 55–78. [DOI]

Fruit tree

Some initiatives

This list includes discussion groups on how to improve science that gather scholars from different disciplines, initiatives to promote and think about better research practices, alternative research institutes with a mix of ‘regular’ and independent scholars.

  • Slow Science in Belgium is ‘an interuniversity platform for discussion on academia’s future’.
  • Better Science in Switzerland ‘calls for a rethinking in academia towards more sustainability, diversity and equal opportunities.’
  • Café Culture Initiative by the Wellcome foundation and some results already about research culture as experienced by researchers that you can find here.
  • The HIBAR Research Alliance to improve research and innovation ecosystem and better contribute to solving society’s critical problems. You can find their discussion paper here.
  • The DORA initiative, which promotos a different way of evaluating researchers than just using publication indices. It also has different incentives and guidelines depending on the targeted structure (universities, publishers, etc).
  • The RONIN institute ‘is devoted to facilitating and promoting scholarly research outside traditional academic research institutions.’
  • IGDORE, the institute for globally distributed open research and education ‘is an independent research institute dedicated to improving the quality of science, science education, and quality of life for scientists, students and their families.’
  • The research cooperative is a moderated social network dedicated to better academic, technical and educational communication.
  • PiCompS, Postdoctal institute for computational studies, is a virtual home for both independent and academic researchers, inspired by the Ronin Institute. They are ‘an international forum, a virtual community that recognizes the world outside of traditional academia. Their mission is to promote diversity in computing, raise awareness and provide support to independent researchers, scholars with alternative academic careers , and those who seek to redefine career.’

Books and blogposts

In English

  • I recommend the medium channel of Daniel J. Dunleavy who writes interesting posts on slow science, open science, changes academia needs and so on. See, for instance, this post on “Fast Science, Slow Science: Finding Balance in the Time of COVID-19 and the Age of Misinformation.”
  • You can also check the medium channel of Bruce Caron who writes a lot on Open Science.
  • Check the series of blog posts on Slow Science written by The Thesis Whisperer, and particularly this one: “Slow Academia is for the privileged – but then, isn’t all academia?”
  • The fabulous book of Isabelle Stengers “Another Science is possible. Manifesto for a slow science” (GoodReads Page) along with the book review written by Philip Conway and accessible here.
  • A book written by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, focusing on US universities but which content can be generalised to most Western countries: ”Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University” (2019 - Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press). (Publisher’s page)
  • Two articles [article 1 and article 2] reviewing a book written about slow science in academia by two professors, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber: The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy.
  • You can find more texts and links on this Rotten Potatoes webpage.

In French

  • Un billet de blog “Slow science et désexcellence. Résister aux dérives néolibérales de la recherche” sur le blog Hypothèse “Les aspects concrets de la thèse”
  • Un billet d’Olivier P. Gosselin invité sur le blog de Paul Jorion: “Slow Science – La Désexcellence”
  • Le livre d’Isabelle Stengers « Une autre science est possible ! Manifeste pour un ralentissement des sciences » aux éditions de la Découverte
    J’ai rassemblé des notes de lecture sur le livre « Une autre science est possible ! Manifeste pour un ralentissement des sciences » d’Isabelle Stengers. Elles sont accessibles sur cette page: Notes Stengers.
  • Isabelle Stengers est régulièrement invitée à la radio. Vous pouvez ici écouter un très court entretien sur France Inter (8 minutes) à propos de la sortie de son livre en 2013 et des points importants qu’il contient. Ou alors ici une émission plus longue de France Culture (39 minutes) où elle fut invitée avec Dominique Pestre à discuter sur la question “De quoi faut-il sauver la science?”. Enfin dans la même veine et plus récemment, vous avez cet entretien sur France Inter à nouveau (54 minutes) avec Etienne Klein, autre philosophe des sciences, venu discuter de ce qui menace l’esprit scientifique (indice: l’urgence!). Enfin, cet entretien sur France Culture (31 minutes) avec le physicien Pierre Papon au sujet des liens entre science et démocratie à l’occasion de la sortie de son livre “La démocratie a-t-elle besoin de la science?” (et dans le cadre de la journée thématique ‘Ce que le Covid fait à la science’ sur France Culture). Bonnes écoutes!