2009 better scienceSince 2018, the working group “critical discourse on excellence” – consisting of members of intermediary and professorial staff originally at the University of Bern but now also at other Swiss HEIs – has been discussing the scientific practices we consider appropriate for achieving “academic excellence”. From this nucleus, an initiative emerged and is gaining momentum: the Better Science Initiative. COPERNICUS Alliance members are invited to sign the initiative and check on the programme of an upcoming online conference (20-21 November 2020).

The Better Science Initiative

Academia is undergoing radical shifts. New forms of management, financing, and goal setting are changing conditions for research. The Better Science Initiative critically questions the notion of academic excellence and calls for a rethinking in academia towards more sustainability, diversity, and equal opportunities. The initiative aims to change current practices in research, teaching, and administration away from the paradigm of speed towards more “care-ful”, creative, and qualitative work.

With a brand new website, the initiative now offers a playful introduction to the topic. Ten calls to action provide a start for a rethinking of current academic practices at the individual level. We invite everybody to subscribe to the calls either as an individual or in the name and with the backing of their institution.

The initiative wants people to raise their voice and be heard: With a testimonial, supporters of Better Science show the diversity of people who call for a new definition of academic excellence. On the website, visitors will find a curated list of essential texts and latest articles. As the issues with academic culture are not bound to particular universities, Better Science does not stop there either. With discussions and workshops, Better Science is touring Swiss universities to initiate a discussion about excellence and the academic culture we want to work in. Find upcoming events here: https://betterscience.ch/en/agenda/#