July 16, 2014

JUDITH CURRY: ‘Scientist’: the evolving story of a word. “The radical implications of the internet are acting to democratize science. Blogs are conducting post publication peer review and we are seeing the development of internet scientific communities on blogs that are acting as ‘clubs’ for independent scientists that focus on addressing scientific issues that are relevant to public debates. These developments are challenging traditional notions of expertise, especially as independent scientists are cited in the mainstream media and are invited to present evidence at government hearings. Scientists who belong to the right ‘clubs’ (universities, professional societies) regard this membership as conferring expertise in public debates involving science, and they tend to be dismissive of independent scientists. Independent scientists, in the mode of the 19th century ‘man of science’, are relegated by scientists who belong to the right clubs to a lower ‘amateur’ status.”