Nature magazine on Italian research

"Building respect for science takes time."

- Nature magazine

In the most recent issue of the monthly journal, an editorial describes three separate incidents highlighting the low regard that Italian society places in science. This view is reflected in recent judicial rulings going against scientists and their practices. The most prominent of the three, the sentencing last month of six scientist to prison for failing to properly explain how risky a forecasted earthquake might be, has sent aftershocks of unease all over the global scientific community. The editorial claims that rulings like these have at their root a profound lack of understanding and respect for science in that country -- along with a fair helping of political disdain and lack of adequate funding. Changes won't happen overnight, but there is some hope that badly needed reforms will change things for Italian scientists and their beleaguered profession.