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The status of scientists in public opinion is discussed in relation to several areas of controversy. In England the social status of scientists is affected by long standing prejudices in society and the education system, and to some extent these views have had influence in Australia. It is suggested that the issues which give rise to public concern about science vary between countries, but that interactions of science with business and the perceived lack of openness in release of findings have undermined public confidence.
Changes in the publishing industry have profound consequences for the practice and accessibility of science. These changes have received little comment or analysis, but potentially have both positive and negative consequences. The application of new managerial approaches with short term vision to scientific research risks long term damage and may limit the ability of scientists to respond to public needs and concerns.