Here at Mètode, we could take a look back and consider the journey undertaken by our journal since its very first issue, which came out in 1992. In the first Mètode editorial, Josep Lluís Barona, who was Pro-Vice Chancellor at the time, wrote: «An issue of great concern facing the sociology of science today is the problem of conveying scientific knowledge and its applications». Why put this in a historical context if the current need to bring science to society remains patently clear?.
Dissemination and communication of science is still a challenge. First is the fact that there is a degree of public disinterest in –or misconception of– science, often through lack of knowledge. Furthermore, scientists’ involvement in outreach activities has primarily been the result of individual voluntarism, and often the vehicle by which science reaches the general public is through the popular mass media, and at times in somewhat sensationalist hues. We should add that science popularisation is not well understood nor encouraged by those responsible for national or regional science policy: university professors and research scientists do not receive any credit for being good communicators….
Currently, science funding is enduring the worst cutbacks witnessed in the last twenty years, cuts that will certainly wield a very negative influence on our science and technology, and even more so on social support for science. Unfortunately, a scientifically uninformed society sees no need to protect scientific development from budget cuts. Indeed, the public defence of science will be impossible without the social projection that can only be achieved through effective communication.
In this context, institutional initiatives such as Mètode, aimed at the dissemination of research undertaken at the University of Valencia and of science in general, are crucial and must reach the general public. So here we are twenty years later, still going strong, still full of hope, and seen in this light, having published over 75 issues calls for celebration. But it should also be a moment of reflection, to raise awareness of the importance of dissemination, to assess the need for continuous and fluent communication between the doers of science and society. We started out on this road twenty years ago, we face the everyday problems of any university, funding difficulties, and often voluntarism keeps us moving, but we are well aware of the importance of our work. In the last few years we have expanded our sphere of influence, hoping that the Spanish language edition of the journal and annual review in English help to disseminate the knowledge generated by the University of Valencia.
Now, after twenty years, we look to the future taking a new editorial direction, where a prestigious scientific board aims to include our journal in the ISI index, thus hoping it will reach a still wider readership.
We will end as we began. More than 75 issues later, twenty years on, and we must acknowledge the efforts of all those who have made this possible. We must also be aware of the value of Mètode for the University of Valencia, and the institution’s commitment to transferring knowledge to society.
Pedro Carrasco Sorlí. Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Valencia (Spain).
|© Miguel Lorenzo
«Initiatives like ‘Mètode’ are vital. Reaching 75 issues we call for celebration but also for a moment of reflection, to raise awareness of the importance of dissemination»
© Mètode 2012 - 75. The Festive Gene - Autumn 2012