Currently, we know that science and society have a reciprocal “relationship,” that both benefit and that science works and serves society, since science is part of it, it is part of the very development and construction of a changing society, but is it really like that? Does conventional scientific research fully respond to the needs and values of citizens? Is science carried out for and with society? Although it should be this way, sadly we see that currently (centralized science) there are factors that break this connection and prevent integration work with society and although this perception has changed in recent years, there is still much to work on.

Clearly this science-society relationship has changed throughout history, because interests, problems, culture and context in general change, so the perceptions and relevant and important topics that are investigated depend completely on this. Unfortunately, interests have focused on economic aspects and that is here when companies begin to appropriate knowledge, and the instruments and support policies offered by governments are usually directed towards companies and towards the utilitarian use of knowledge, thus benefiting only companies and industries, and not to society as such.

The production of knowledge should not be interested only in utility, because when it becomes completely utilitarian, it becomes causal and directional knowledge, and very limiting for the rest. It is good that there is a utilitarian science, but science, from my point of view, must also be basic. Knowledge must be generated to have a better vision of the world in which we live, to know and understand what happens in nature, etc. and then see how that knowledge can be used, but that this does not start from a solely utilitarian point.

Another important aspect that we see at the present is the lack of communication, there is a great division between science and society, there is not an intermediary between knowledge and society, there is not dialogue between the two that serves the society that have asking questions, and bringing those questions to scientists and researchers.

Science should not be hermetic and there should not be the great division that we have. After all, science is part of our culture and should be as complete as possible. Knowing what society thinks about science is vitally important, and it is not about creating informative content, but about creating good literature whose content disseminates science. We can approach society from philosophy and art, doing interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work, since there is multiculturalism and a diversity of knowledge that make up a culture and a society, where there are different ways of accessing knowledge.

That's why the DeSci movement caught my attention when my best friend told me about decentralized science. The truth is that at first, I had a lot of doubts, everything sounded very good and I thought: Something is very strange, this can't be that good!!!

However, after researching and delving a little deeper, I understood that my fear and disbelief were normal, we have been educated and have grown up with certain paradigms, so I only knew one way to do science: study at a university, graduate, do a postgraduate, after completing another postgraduate degree, being a professor, looking for a job at a university and not dying trying, and after many barriers and efforts, being able to dedicate myself to research.

After a moment I understood that this is very unfair, the conventional way of doing science does not make sense and I remembered Feyerabend and his methodological pluralism in his book “Against the method: Outline of an anarchist theory of knowledge” (Figure 1), you have to have different perspectives, different ways of approaching a certain problem, whether social or knowledge to try to solve it.

Figure 1. Cover of the book "Against the method: Outline of an anarchist theory of knowledge" by Feyerabend, I highly recommend it.

Feyerabend did not agree with conventional science that tells scientists what to do and what decisions to make, for him the only rule was "anything goes." By this he meant that scientists should not be subject to established rules that stop and limit researchers.

Science should be more humanistic and freer, since scientists have their own interests, tastes and life stories, which means that each researcher has different interpretations, perspectives, ideas and suggestions, who perceive problems with new and different points of view.

Science should respond to the needs of society and the challenges that arise around the world. Social awareness, commitment to science and citizen participation are very important to build a holistic society.

To face current challenges of sustainability, ethics, environmental, politics, gender, etc., governments, science and citizens have to work together to find relevant and understandable solutions for our society and culture.

Current challenges are multidisciplinary and cover the entire life cycle of innovation, from research to the development of knowledge and its applications. Science, art and philosophy must lead us towards a more equitable and sustainable society.

Science as we know it has become a true dogma, from how it is taught to how it is transmitted. Therefore, it would be good to eliminate this and have a more plural society, since society in general is denigrating other forms of knowledge and knowing, which are fundamental for human life. I am almost certain that with the new web3 and blockchain tools and the decentralization of science, there will be a paradigm shift in the way science is done, building a plural science, with perspective, more open and free for scientists and society, initiating a true reciprocal relationship between science and society.

What do you think? Do you think DeSci is what Feyerabend was talking about? Will this anarchist and free science finally be achieved?

I think so, it is the beginning of a paradigm shift.

I would love to read your opinions.

Further readings

Blanco, J. R. (1994). The relationships between science and society: towards a historical sociology of scientific knowledge. Politica y social, 14(15), 35-45.

Blanco, J. R. and Iranzo, J. M. (2000). Ambivalence and uncertainty in the relationships between science and society. Papers, 61, 89-112.

Feyerabend, P. (2017). Tratado contra el método. D. Ribes, Translated. Spain: Tecnos Editorial. (Original work in 1975).

Orozco, L. A. (2003). Science, culture and society. Account of a postgraduate course. Sinéctic Electronic Magazine, 23, 51-55.