Congressman Anna Kontula (left) is concerned when researchers are not made to give statements on bills (HS 4.6.).
If you think about it from the perspective of a researcher, this is by no means surprising. Making opinions takes a lot of work time, and the highly competitive and dwindling research sector requires a focus on those factors that concretely help your own career and field of research.
It can be difficult for younger university researchers in particular to rationally justify going through a huge amount of material for a single statement – compared to, say, writing a research article, applying for funding, or supervising doctoral students. In my experience, there is a lot of desire to share my own expertise, there is more of a lack of time and incentives.
Much has been written about the mechanisms of science, but a few small changes in both incentives and processes could help. First, the funding model for universities should directly take into account the participation of researchers in such expert tasks. These mechanisms are already in place in sector research institutes.
Secondly, more discipline-specific ad-hoc panels (coordinated by the Academy of Finland, for example) could be used to gather a report from experts in the field on the views of the scientific world on the subject under decision. This would avoid focusing too much on individual researchers, both in terms of views and workload.
As a third factor, it would be necessary to make such activities a concrete and measurable part of university career development and pathways, on an equal footing with, for example, publishing activities.
Doctor of Philosophy, eMBA
Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by the HS editorial board. You can leave a comment or read the principles of the writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.