About ISSP

The Initiative for Science, Society, and Policy (ISSP) is a network for scientists and a resource to society.

The ISSP aims to help make science and technology integral components of societal planning and public discourse.

Effective collaboration of science and technology in societal planning is a complex process, and public discourse plays a central role. Society should benefit maximally from the scientific expertise at its universities, and scientists should reflect on their role in society and their professional responsibility to participate in civic processes. Scientists' involvement outside the academy can take many forms, including interacting with businesses, the arts, the political community, and those crafting public policy. Through specific projects, the Initiative aims to catalyze progressive and sustainable social change, through constructive engagement and public discourse involving scientists and stakeholders, powerbrokers, and the general public.

Danish MP Peter Skaarup and professor Steen Rasmussen discussing science based lawmaking at the Folkemøde 2014.

Technology and science is changing faster than ever. One example is that former grand newspapers now struggle to survive and are forced to explore new alleys for getting funds and cut expenses. One development is that publicly paid researchers to an increasing extent help time-pressured journalists with producing content to the newspapers.

A positive consequence is that scientists are becoming increasingly involved in science communication. However, a surprising new negative consequence seems to be that some newspapers have chosen to argue that they can permanently own the product of our knowledge and help beyond the “novelty value”… the latest development is a Danish newspaper suing scientists for sharing common knowledge.

The newspaper in question has successfully sued a professor for making a pdf-file of an interview and a book* review accessible on his website. Mind you, it was a review of a book he co-authored, and the interview contained his quotes – he even helped the journalist write it, by fact-checking the formulations and quotations. The unfortunate professor – that acted in good faith and complying to an official rule stating that university based researchers have a duty to communicate their research – happens to be the leader of the ISSP focus group ‘Social Software’, Professor Vincent F. Hendricks. This peculiar case raises the question – who owns the knowledge financed by society and provided by scientists?

Pelle Guldborg Hansen, CEO