Dashun Wang and Albert-László Barabási, "The Science of Science" (Cambridge UP, 2021)


Listen to this interview of Dashun Wang, Professor at the Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, and also with Albert-László Barabási, Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University. We talk about their new book The Science of Science (Cambridge UP, 2021) or science, squared.

Albert-László Barabási : "There is, of course, the need that you grow professionally. If you're a mathematician, you need to perfect your math. If you're a physicist, you need to do your physics. If you're a biologist, you need to develop your lab techniques. But no matter the magnitude of any discovery you might make, it's not impactful unless you can actually communicate it. And I think that this is where science lacks significantly. I would even go so far as to say, there is a counter-selection: People who are not necessarily the best communicators tend to prefer science because there's the impression that that is not the skill that you need — you just need to be able to solve problems in a meaningful way. But if you're not able to write your ideas down, if you're not able to share your ideas with your community, then it's really as if you didn't have the ideas at all. And you know, I have experienced this in my own career. When I got interested in network science back in 1994/95, for the first few years my papers got rejected one after the other, and not because it wasn't good science (as I would later realize) — no, my papers were getting rejected because I could not communicate to the community at large and to my referees in particular why we should care about networks. And it took me about five years to find the way into people's minds, to learn how they write papers about networks. I needed to learn the hard way about how the community of scientists appreciated and did not appreciate research on networks. And it took me so long because I'd never been offered the opportunity to study the communication of science."

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Daniel Shea

I am committed to helping scientists write at their best. To this end, I founded the Graduate Communication Services, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Here I work in the unique role of textician. Want to know more? Contact me at daniel.shea@kit.edu
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