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How should we organise astronomy politics (citations, getting jobs, etc)?

How can we organise astronomy research/education with as little power politics as possible?

Anecdotal evidence of some mechanisms in present-day astronomy

  • AstroPh:0310368 Martin Lopez-Corredoira: What do astrophysics and the world's oldest profession have in common?
  • PhySics:0310134 A. De Rujula: The New paradigm for gamma ray bursts: a case of unethical behaviour?
  • PhySics:0404029 Reva Kay Williams: A Word from a black female relativistic astrophysicist: setting the record straight on black holes
    • the letter on page 8 which shows a lack of respect for academic freedom by a senior scientist writing in response to a postdoc application is quite chilling, IMHO -- BoudRoukema - 09 Apr 2004

claims of non-citation: discussion

Is it possible to present analyses of what is felt to be a conscious lack of citation by a famous scientist of the work made by a younger or less famous scientist in a way that focuses on science and is not felt to be a personal attack?

constructive suggestions

The pressures of applying for jobs and having to claim credit for results, all the subjective, political and social factors that go into deciding who gets a job and how much money is given in grants, necessarily imply that the astronomy community forms a dynamical sociological system with many properties that make it difficult for individuals to just concentrate on interesting, original, systematic, careful scientific research. What parameters can or should be changed? What are the present values of these parameters? Are there processes which can have significant effects on the system to make it better?

publication cycles

research/education cross-over

software: GNU GPL vs non-free licences

  • How important could shifting to more GNU GPL (or compatible) software help?

decisions on jobs (PhD, postdoc, faculty)

  • the job contexts very significantly between Western Europe, N.America/UK/Australia/NZ, Central/Eastern Europe, India, Japan, ...
  • URLs to discussions


  • Is Wikipedia:Feudalism (pl - WikipediaPl:Feudalizm - ale jest to bardzo krótki artykuł; więcej jest w wersji angielski) a good model for organising astronomy research/education? After i publicly circulated an email criticising a decision by a head of department (but not attacking him as a person, only criticising the decision) and proposing an alternative decision, someone replied to me (in private) Jest taka zasada ze nie krytykuje sie szefa przed jego podwladnymi. (en - There is the principle that the chief should not be criticised by his inferiors.) So clearly, some people feel that feudalism is a good model for astronomy research/education. -- BoudRoukema - 01 Oct 2004

sprawe stare

  • This should go somewhere about Andrzej Kus and independent radio and television emission during the PRL period:
Topic revision: r4 - 20 Nov 2008, BoudRoukema
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