What may be defined as the "standard model" of the public communication of science began to develop in the second half of the nineteenth century, gained a clear structure (especially in an Anglo-Saxon context) in the first three decades of the twentieth century and dominated until the nineties. Roughly speaking, the model tends to describe science as a compact social (and epistemic) corpus, largely separated from the rest of society by a type of semipermeable membrane. That is, information and actions can flow freely from science to the rest of society (through the application of technologies and the spread of scientific culture, for instance), but much more limitedly in the opposite direction (through science politics or the influence of sociocultural events on science itself).


"We can only appeal to society, considering that governments and parties have fallen constantly short of expectations since the late eighties. The public must know that without research there is no innovation, and without innovation there is no state-of-theart. The lack of research is a handicap for the development of the country". The words of Silvio Garattini, director of Milan's Mario Negri Institute, reveal rage and passion. This is how he explained the reasons why more than one year ago 1,500 Italian scientists made an unprecedented, resolute and unmediated appeal to the general public to back research in Italy.


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