Image: Marionette, © Thomas Quine CC BY 2.0 via flickr.com
When we do science, we presumably want that science to have both impact and reach. By “impact”, I mean more than citation counts: I mean that what we’ve done adds to human knowledge and changes how we think about, and interact with, our world. By “reach”, I mean that the impact happens broadly: not just with the six other people in the world who do research on the same questions and systems I do, but with scientists more broadly, with journalists, with policymakers, and with the general public.
Do I want my science (and my science commentary here at Scientist Sees Squirrel) to have impact and reach? Of course I do. It would be rather peculiar to publish science, and write a blog, and hope that nobody ever heard about it or was influenced by it. So yes, I want my science, and my commentary, to have impact and reach. But I’m also afraid of that impact and reach. And while that seems very strange, even to me, I think it’s not uncommon and it distorts our scientific message. Let me explain. Continue reading