Euroscience Open Forum 2006, 15 – 19 July, Munich, Germany

Euroscience Open Forum 2006, 15 – 19 July, Munich, Germany:
Prof. Stevan Harnad

Moderator, American Scientist Open Access Forum
Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Sciences,
Université du Québec à Montréal
Professor, Electronics and Computer Science,
University of Southampton

Publish or Perish

As Science is mere structured common sense,
her means but trial-and-error made intense,
the only virtue setting her apart,
and raising her above (some think) mere Art,
Is her convergence ever on consensus:
collective, self-corrective her defenses.
A flagellant, she boldly does defy
Reality her schemes to falsify.

And yet this noble jousting were in vain,
and all this pain would yield no grain of gain
if Science were content, a shrinking violet,
her works from all the world ‘ere to keep private.
Instead, performance public and artistic,
restraining all propensities autistic,
perhaps less out of error-making dread,
than banal need to earn her daily bread.

For showbiz being what it is today,
work’s not enough, you’ve got to make it pay.
What ratings, sweeps and polls count for our actors,
no less than our elected benefactors,
for Science the commensurate equation
is not just publication but citation.
The more your work is accessed, read and used,
the higher then is reckoned its just dues.
Sounds crass, but there may be some consolation,
where there’s still some residual motivation
to make a difference, not just make a fee:
the World Wide Web at last can make Science free.


This one the euroscience poetry prize 🙂