Standing up for scientific freedom at a time of war#

In a strongly-worded editorial in the journal FUNCTION, Ole Petersen MAE and Alexei Verkhratsky applaud the actions of scientists who oppose the Russian war against Ukraine.

The editorial cites examples where members of academia, both collectively and as individuals, have condemned acts of Russian aggression. They include Nobel Prize winner, Sir John Eccles FRS ML who denounced the crushing of the Prague Spring (1968) by the Soviet Union. In 2022, national academies – including the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina – have issued a statement that calls out the ‘unprovoked attack against Ukraine’. Academia Europaea has made a similar declaration.

The editorial concludes with the authors’ personal view that the academic community cannot ignore events such as the current war. The response has to be one of maximum pressure against Russian authoritarianism, support to those Russian groups who speak out against the conflict, and assistance to Ukrainian scientists and scholars.

The Responsibility of Scientists in a Time of War
Ole H Petersen, Alexei Verkhratsky
Function, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2022, zqac023,
Published: 02 May 2022

About the authors#

Ole Petersen is a Professor at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences. He was elected Fellow of The Royal Society in 2000 and Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2010. He became Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2008. Professor Petersen is Vice-President of Academia Europaea and Director of the AE Cardiff Hub. He is Chief Editor of American Physiological Society’s Open Access flagship journal FUNCTION which launched in 2020.

Alexei Verkhratsky is Professor of Neurophysiology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester. He was elected Member of Academia Europaea in 2003 and Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2013.

Professor Ole Petersen
Professor Ole Petersen

Professor Alexei Verkhratsky
Professor Alexei Verkhratsky


Launched in 2020, the American Physiological Society’s Open Access flagship journal FUNCTION seeks papers that contribute to defining the mechanistic basis of living systems in health and disease. FUNCTION aims to be a highly selective journal, publishing major advances that extend physiological understanding of biological function and the changes associated with disease states. It provides a high calibre and broad spectrum open-access platform for researchers to publish their major advances in basic, translational, and clinical sciences.

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