The role of the Royal Society should be reviewed

05/18/05

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday May 20, 2005.

The Royal Society today has contributed little to medical science and should undergo an urgent review of its purpose and programmes, states an editorial in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

During recent times, the Royal Society has produced little of public value in medicine and public health. It has launched inquiries into non-human primate research and pharmacogenetics. But these weak outputs do little to justify the esteem with which the Society is held, nor the investment made in it by government, states the editorial.

Martin Rees, the UK's Astronomer Royal and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, is the new President of the Royal Society. The Lancet urges him to begin his Presidency with a wide-ranging review of the Royal Society's purpose, programmes, and aspirations.

The Lancet comments: "The Royal Society began as a radical idea--a place to discuss the subversive subject of science and to witness remarkable experiments…But the Royal Society today is a lazy institution, resting on its historical laurels. Instead of being the intellectual hub of European scientific culture, it has reinvented itself as something far more self-serving and parochial. It is little more than a shrill and superficial cheerleader for British science. Its modern mission is about domestic image rather than international substance."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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