Scientists and research workers

Although the general public has probably not even noticed it, the “scientist” as a special species has been forced out of practically his entire original biotopes in the natural sciences and has been replaced by the much more successful species “research worker”. The differences between scientists and research workers are not obvious at first glance. However, research workers do not usually ask “Why?”, but rather “How?” and can use complicated and expensive methods to determine which enzyme, which sequence, which molecular weight, which redox potential, or how many molecules of substrate per minute. Average research workers have incomparably greater scientific performance (number of publications and number of citations of these publications) and thus gain higher professional positions than the average scientist. This would be even truer if below-average research workers were compared with below-average scientists. To the contrary, the differences will not be so great between top research workers and top scientists. However, because the highly above-average are a negligible minority in the population, for tactical reasons a great many scientists act as if they were research workers and state this profession in their curriculum vitae. For this reason, it is difficult at the present time to determine the exact numbers of scientists and research workers in the scientific community and the first impression that scientists no longer exist in nature could, in fact, be erroneous.

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