A few days ago Peter Griffin’s post Science: Are we doing it all wrong? discussed the new report from the McGuinness Institute looking at how research is currently done in New Zealand and how it could supposedly be done better. The last couple of days I’ve been perusing this document and there are some interesting ideas. However, I am finding some suggestions which I can’t quite understand the purpose of, for example:
“One of the findings of this report is that those who operate in the science community do not administer themselves as a profession; there is no qualification or organisational body that sets standards as to when and how the term ‘scientist’ may be used after someone’s name. Providing more clarity over how this term is used would promote the science community and enable it to develop a better long-â€term relationship with society.
We believe the issue of who is a ‘scientist’ could easily be resolved by adding a professional body within the Royal Society, in much the same way the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) administers use of the term ‘Chartered Accountant’. For example, the term ‘Professional Scientist’ could be used to identify individuals who have a Bachelor of Science degree, have four years’ work experience and now spend more than 50% of their working hours on science-â€related research or development.”
I’m struggling to see the benefit of labeling people as “professional scientists”, particularly based on the definition given above.
Can anyone see a reason for this?