For his article "Shame on You, Mrs. Thatcher" (The Scientist, March 9, 1987, p. 9) Eugene Garfield deserves the gratitude of the British scientific community. His article, sympathetic to the impoverished state of British science, highlighting some of its failings, and proposing solutions to its problems, demands attention. It should be compulsory reading for scientists and politicians. Even Harvard humanities professors should be forced to study it.
Yet, although Garfield has provided an accurate description of the symptoms of the malaise, he has overlooked its origins. English society is introverted, class-ridden and conservative. Attitudes are parochial, excessive respect is given to titles, and change is resisted. For example, consider this observation: "What? Call an academic staff member a professor? Then we would become like America. There you don't know who it is you're talking with, and that's a hopeless state of affairs." A British professor recently said that to me....
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?