Third-level science research and hype

 

Sir, – Congratulations to Anthony King for exposing the relentless hype in research announcements from Irish third-level institutions (“Hyping research runs risk of devaluing science”, Science, October 3rd).

Most news outlets are happy to receive the “ready for upload” information and we cannot blame them for publishing it without question. We can, however, blame the communications offices of the third-level institutions for drafting such science fiction. After all , they have access to expert knowledge and the scientists themselves are seldom as deluded as the press release may suggest.

So why does it happen? I believe that this trend has developed because of the emphasis from the main funding agencies that all scientific research must lead to commercial benefit. It is also fuelled by academic promotion criteria that equate commercial achievement and public profile with scientific scholarship.

Let’s stop fooling the public from now on. I look to the funding agencies to lead the revolution! – Yours, etc,

SEAMAS GRANT ,

Ballinteer,

Dublin 16.