Building on scientific excellence via sharing scientific expertise – the case study of food safety

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Abstract

Many of the difficulties faced nowadays by society at large in maintaining a safe food supply can be effectively addressed by more and (preferably) better science. However, excellence in science will become more and more dependent on sharing of data and expertise - the nuclear idea emphasized in this viewpoint article, which conveys the major points presented and discussed by the senior author in the (invited) opening plenary lecture delivered at EFSA 5th anniversary scientific forum. Data and knowledge are usually shared within the scientific community itself - and are typically aimed at peers; however, the associated citing metrics do not often correlate with their applicability and usefulness. Funding bodies have for long recognized the value of networking and crossbreeding among scientists - in reinforcing complementarities and promoting synergies. Furthermore, these bodies have had a major effect in driving food scientists reach out of their cocooned, narrow communities toward embracing a wider spectrum of disciplines (e.g. in social and economic sciences). Web-supported databases of e.g. risk data and pathogen sequences have also revolutionized access to, and use of knowledge. Finally, a number of formal trans-European platforms have been launched by private stakeholders to promote sharing. In all cases, the thrust is to be put on trust - that what is shared is genuine and valid, and will not be subsequently adulterated or used inappropriately. Willingness to engage in free circulation of information and expertise will determine the extent of effective sharing on the long run, and of excellence of science derived therefrom - which is ultimately developed for the well-being and safety of the citizen, seen first of all as a food consumer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Pages (from-to)S9-S13
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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