After public appearances, scientists are increasingly facing fierce backlash and threats, not only from know-it-all anonymous people on social media, but also from their colleagues. This not only hurts them personally, but also undermines social debate and our democratic values, says Ennick Slaughter, president of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). devotion.
According to Sluiter, there are many scholars who have decided not to go on this talk show, and keep their opinions to themselves out of intimidation.
The head of KNAW is tough on this: “It’s bad for those researchers, because their social integrity is affected while they want to contribute to debates on important social issues. But the debate itself and democratic values are affected as well, especially if scholars withdraw or engage in self-censorship. And we see that happening. Now,” she says in the newspaper.
ScienceGuide, a news website about science and higher education, recently launched a survey on the issue, and has received several hundred responses from scientists. Half of them say they have had to deal with the scary reactions after going public. The vast majority of these scholars say they have become more cautious in the public sphere, and as a result they have become more fearful.
What was surprising in this survey was that intimidation did not always come from (anonymous) messages on social media, but also from colleagues, students and even managers in their own scientific institution.
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