13 07 2013

Petition to protect CSIC

From: Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
To: Secretary of State for R & D, Ms. Vela.

Dear colleagues,

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the largest scientific institution in Spain, which is 74 years old, is about to collapse due to the cuts the government has imposed on R + D and innovation.
The President of CSIC has acknowledged that this situation is due to the chronic structural deficit that the institution has suffered since 2009, mainly due to successive reductions in transfer of funds from the Ministry and not by the overall economic situation.
The State Budget (PGE) the resources allocated to the CSIC have been progressively reduced on to put it close to the limit, with a deficit of 150 million euros, of which 50 millions could be recovered by severe austerity measures. The recent injection of 25 million contributes to alleviate the situation, but it is not more than a bandage on an open wound.
There are still 75 million euros needed to prevent the collapse of the CSIC and less than six months to the completion of the year, nevertheless no official commitment has been made by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
This means, 75 million euros to prevent the closure of the main scientific institution in Spain, with more than 100 research centers and institutes and about 12,000 working professionals.
Let’s put the 75 million in perspective and compare it with other numbers: the former government party treasure man, Luis Barcenas, now being judge for corruption and tax evasion, has allegedly made a fortune, now in Switzerland, of about 47 million euros. Political parties spent 65 million euros in the general election campaign of 2011. The fraud for irregular payments in Andalusia known as “ERE case” is estimated at 136 million euros. Bullfighting receives 500 million grant from different public institutions. Football clubs have a debt of over 600 million euros with the IRS, etc.
In times of economic crisis we must set priorities and in Spain it is clear that R & D is not one of them.

Please sign the petition (English version) and ask the Secretary of State for R & D to do what whatever it takes to save the CSIC.

Petición: versión en Castellano.

26 10 2012

Petition to protect EU science budget

From: Initiative for Science in Europe
To: European Union (petition)

Dear colleagues,

The discussions at the next summit of the European Union heads of state or government, which is scheduled for 22 and 23 November, will be decisive in determining the EU research budget for the next seven years. Several Member States are demanding severe cuts on the total EU budget and research will have to compete with other policy priorities.

This is a time when we, the scientific community, should act together and make our case to protect research funding, including that of the European Research Council (ERC), from cuts. Decisions will be prepared in discussions among politicians at the national level. All of us must look for opportunities to affect these decisions and send a strong signal to the heads of state or government.

An open letter signed by European Nobel laureates has been published in top European newspapers this week. The impact of this letter will be increased if it is followed by a mobilization of the national scientific communities. To keep the momentum going, an online petition has been launched.

I would like to ask you to sign it and to encourage all your colleagues to do likewise. Note that in the past, less than 30 000 scientists signed the largest petition for a European scientific cause compared to the hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions from other groups of society. We must do better than that.

This action is coordinated by the Initiative for Science in Europe (email; site), of which EMBO (excellence in life sciences, Heidelberg) is a member. Please contact Wolfgang Eppenschwandtner, Executive Coordinator of the ISE if you have any questions or suggestions.

1 05 2012

Open Data in Archaeology
The AIA and Open Access: An Open Letter

From: Open Archaeology Working Group
To: Archaeological Institute of America

A recent editorial by the President of the Archaeological Institute of America, Elizabeth Bartman, made the claim that “the [AIA], along with our colleagues at the American Anthropological Association and other learned societies, have taken a stand against open access.” As might be expected, this has led to a degree of consternation among many of its members. After all, access to information is one of the most significant issues of our age and those who aim to restrict it should expect some opposition. Bartman is not objecting to freedom of speech, however, but ‘free as in beer’, in particular a proposed piece of federal legislation that would make archaeological scholarship ‘available to the public, on the Internet, for no charge’. This is not a simple issue and, as practicing archaeologists from the international community, we respect the AIA’s right to express such views. Despite this, it is our opinion that this proclamation has done both the AIA’s membership, as well as other academics and the general public, a grave disservice. [+]

17 02 2012

8th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (HORIZON 2020): CH omitted

From: European cultural heritage research community
To: European Parliament and European Council

We, the undersigned, would like to plead strongly for the inclusion of cultural heritage research in the 8th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, HORIZON 2020.

In the proposal of the European Commission for HORIZON 2020 cultural heritage has been omitted completely, thus taking away all the funds previously available for research in this field. This decision has serious consequences, since the whole basis for the conservation of cultural heritage in Europe will be eliminated, probably for many years to come.

Due to continuous EU funding of cultural heritage research since 1986 almost 200 projects have been successfully implemented internationally, making Europe the world leader in this sector. As an example of one of the outstanding projects within the current Framework Programme we mention here “Climate for Culture” (Project No. 226973, period: 2009-2014), which assesses the damage potential of climate change on our cultural heritage, its socio-economic impact as well as the possibilities of mitigation. For the first time ever, high resolution climate evolution scenarios will be coupled with whole building simulation models in order to identify the most urgent risks for specific regions and to develop mitigation strategies.

The research programmes funded in the last decades have built up a unique Europe-wide network for interlinking professional know-how in urgent matters of common interest. Only through research and innovation is it possible to meet the complex challenges involved in protecting our cultural heritage. Research funding provided within the EU Framework Programmes is essential for Europe, as it guarantees the development and implementation of state-of-the-art methods that are urgently required all over Europe not only for the conservation of irreplaceable cultural assets but also for their nurture. Without research, such assets cannot be cared for in the most sustainable manner, leading to the loss of a significant part of our cultural identity and an important economic factor that amounts to 3.3% GDP in Europe and a turnover of 338 billion EUR p.a. from tourism.

Thus, the exclusion of cultural heritage research from HORIZON 2020 would be a disastrous step backwards for Europe as a cultural entity as well an extremely negative signal to the rest of the world.

The signatories of this letter request the EU to acknowledge fully its responsibilities now and in the future, to put cultural heritage research back high on its agenda and to address the topic appropriately in the next Framework Programme. Sign petition

7 02 2012

Portugal sem Ministério da Cultura ou Secretaria de Estado da Cultura

Para o sector da Cultura, Portugal apenas tem um Secretário de Estado da Cultura.
O Secretário de Estado da Cultura apenas tem uma área. Bem-vindo à área.

14 12 2011

Museum Audience Insight
Computers in Museums: Necessary, or Expensive Mistake?

14 04 2011

ICT for Cultural Heritage (CH) - call for papers
18 May – Submission
This ERCIM News special thematic issue invites short articles about ongoing research, development and deployment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for CH.
The interdisciplinary discourse in CH combines information and reasoning from sciences and humanities probably more than other fields of knowledge, in order to understand our past and present. Heterogeneity, multimodality, incompleteness, dispersion and scale of information are among the great challenges for ICT in this field. New methods of data capture and content presentation allow for unprecedented distribution, cross-correlation and display of material CH, supporting conservation, archaeological and museological processes and the visualization of hypotheses about past reality. ICTs offer opportunities for interaction between experts and laymen and the elicitation of cultural knowledge from the public. Integrated information management is increasing effectiveness and efficiency of the administration and preservation of material heritage, a major social concern and business sector.


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