University Cultures

European university culture, until the 1960's, heavily depended on seminars, where various members of the staff, working with entirely different topics, communicated their results. For that reason the staff members had to keep a broad perspective on their disciplines. Relatively little was regarded as being worth publishing, and national and local "schools" were established, which made visits to other environments really interesting.

We tend to look down on the previous generation as they published relatively little. This fact, however, does not imply that they worked little or were less creative. It might just signify that they were more choosy about what they regarded as being significant enough to merit publication.

After large scale production ideals from the US overtook the European style, everything is produced for immediate publication, even the most tiny little idea. The number of journals, which has exploded accordingly, conveniently provides for the space. We still have seminars, but we read already published or accepted papers, which we do not want criticized, and we hardly expect anybody else at the department to understand our whole message. Travel and change of department only results in new personal relations, not new ideas.

It may be that we would urgently need more of interdisciplinary scientific fora in the future just in order to provide for encounters with the unexpected ideas we need to secure creativity.

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