No, la rinomata rivista Science non ha dedicato un editoriale al nostro blog ROARS. Piuttosto, ha pubblicato un’interessante “Presidential address”, rivolto a Barack Obama, in cui discute estesamente dell’utilità del finanziamento della ricerca, in particolare quella di base. L’articolo, ricco di informazioni e spunti di riflessione, si domanda anche quale sia il ROI (Return on Investment) della ricerca di base. Un po’ come quantificare la ricaduta economica di quel Return on Academic Research che – seppur in forma metaforica – ha dato il nome al nostro blog. Secondo Science, «Many institutions, including our universities and retirement funds, accept 5% sustained ROI as a decent return. Yet investments in basic research are variously estimated as ultimately returning between 20% and 60% per year». Ma questi numeri non sono l’unica ragione valida per leggere l’articolo di W.H. Press che tocca molti altri aspetti, a partire dalla relazione tra ricchezza delle nazioni e investimenti in ricerca e sviluppo fino a spiegare quali sono le implicazioni della “coda lunga” che è caratteristica della ricerca di base.



La rivista Science ha pubblicato un interessante “Presidential Address” di William H. Press, intitolato

What’s So Special About Science (And How Much Should We Spend on It?)

William H. Press is the Warren J. and Viola M. Raymer Professor in Computer Science and Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He previously served as Deputy Laboratory Director at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1999 to 2005 and was earlier Professor of Astronomy and of Physics at Harvard University. He was president of AAAS from February 2012 to February 2013. This article is based on the Presidential Address he delivered at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston, MA, on 14 February 2012.

Scientific research probes the deepest mysteries of the universe and of living things, and it creates applications and technologies that benefit humanity and create wealth. This “Beauty and Benefits of Science” is the theme of this 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting.

The subject of my address is a different kind of mystery, although it is also related to this theme. It is the mystery of why society is willing to support an endeavor as abstract and altruistic as basic scientific research and an enterprise as large and practical as the research and development (R&D) enterprise as a whole. Put differently, it is the mystery that a unified scientific enterprise can be simultaneously the seed corn for economic advance and the confectionary corn syrup of pure, curiosity-driven scientific discovery.

Continua a leggere su Science, “What’s So Special About Science (And How Much Should We Spend on It?)”

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