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Dec 21, 2007 Commentary
Individuals, knowledge and governance in the 21st-century society

by Andrea Cerroni

The knowledge society is a new social species that, despite many uncertainties and some (old and new) ambiguities, is emerging on the horizon of the 21st century. Placed at the convergence of two long-term processes (society of individuals and knowledge society), it is characterised by the social-economic process of knowledge circulation, which can be divided into four fundamental phases (generation, institutionalisation, spreading and socialisation). The current situation also sees the traditional (modern) structure of knowledge being outdated by the convergence of nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, information technologies and neuro-cognitive technologies (NBIC). In the background, the need arises to cross the cultural frontier of modernity.

Volume 6 • Issue 04 • 2007

Jun 21, 2005 Commentary
Communication in the scientists' education in the XXI Century

by Andrea Cerroni

While knowledge-society is developing all around the world, science seems to be loosing its historical prestige in public perception, scientific vocations are declining among young people, "limit" on science is common subject of daily politics, research freedom is questioned in front of public good, scientists are dragged in front of public opinion. As a consequence, scientists are to be skilled in science communication. But communicating science is no more matter of "translating" scholar knowledge into lay language (popularization); it is mainly matter of crossing barriers of fundamental attitudes, understanding daily-life ends, sharing future scenarios and cultural values, becoming responsible for the societal dimension of science. Moreover, while confronting the coming Big Convergence (among nanosciences, bio-medical sciences, information and communication-sciences, neuro-cognitive sciences), science itself is called to cross barriers among disciplines, distinctions between pure and applied science, academic and industrial research, science and technology, etc. However, such crossovers are challenging for present education of scientists. The governance of the democratic knowledge-society not only demands more scientific education among citizens, but also a general revision of highest scientific curricula. What are the goals for educating scientists to public responsibility and participation? What are conceivable ways for joining the "two cultures" and integrating curricula? What cross-fertilizations are conceivable between natural and social sciences, scientific and humanistic education, specialised and more general formation?

Volume 4 • Issue 02 • 2005

Sep 21, 2003 Focus
Socio-cognitive perverse effects in peer review. Reflections and proposals

by Andrea Cerroni

Peer review is the evaluation method that has characterized the scientific growth of the last four centuries, the first four of what is called modern science, indeed. It is matter of scientific communication inside scientific community, a subject too poorly studied in comparison with its critical importance for a scientific study of science (science of science). Peer review has been used for scientific paper evaluation before publication (editorial peer review) and for research proposal evaluation before financial support (grants peer review). Both cases present similar pros and cons, so I will treat them as a unique method for scientific evaluation. While the method remained pretty unchanged all along the period, apart from communication technology with peers, science has tremendously changed its organization and its relevance to society. So, peer review is antique and well rooted in practise, but its historical aim should now to be contrasted with the present situation of actual research, practises and social involvement of science.

Volume 2 • Issue 03 • 2003