In DepthNATURAL HISTORY

Demotion dismays researchers at storied Danish museum

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1095
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6419.1095

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Summary

Over the past decade, the 40 researchers at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen have published more than 100 papers in Nature and Science, putting it among the world's top research museums. But budget pressures are forcing a reorganization that will split museum research from curation and outreach, dismaying the museum's scientists. Several of the most prominent group leaders say they may leave. Last month, the university announced that, as of 1 January 2019, the museum will be downsized, becoming a unit within the biology department. Roughly half of the 40 researchers will remain part of that unit; they will give up some of their research to focus on curation and outreach. The other half will become full faculty within the biology department—including the geologists and astrophysicists. These scientists will lose their affiliation with the museum and replace their curatorial roles with increased teaching duties. Researchers say divorcing the scientists' dual roles will curtail the fruitful way that curation pollinates research.