So I got a newsarticle in my RSS reader from the Dutch society against quackery describing the story how a quack conference was banned from the lecture halls from the LUMC. This is an interesting item, because it shows what happens when there are non scientific groups working in an academic environment. With that I mean that the guys from the Boerhaave committee, which is the LUMCs own conference bureau, can be approached by anyone to organise a conference. But a conference ‘organised by the LUMC’, held in the LUMC lecture halls has a different feel to it then just some guys who booked a room in a hotel somewhere. It feels like the content is sanctioned by the LUMC. Academia and academics must be aware of their status and not just lend their name(s) to anyone, even if you can earn an honest buck or two. This important understanding of the role of academia in society will become ever more important with valorisation and industry-academia partnerships.
Now I know that there are safeguards in place to prevent this from happening with the Boerhaave committee and apparently this kind of works, since the guys from the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) are no longer welcome in the Halls of the LUMC. Although I did not study the scientific validity of ‘biophotons’ completely, what I have been reading is not pretty.
Full disclaimer: I am a member of Dutch the society against quackery, I am an employee of the LUMC and I have worked with the Boerhaave committee in the organisation of the WEON.