European Science Foundation and Kafka

I’ve always been pro-EU, mainly because I believe national borders and national sovereignty is an 18-20th century anachronism. The only thing that can raise second thoughts in my mind about the blessings of the Europan Union is the lack of transparency of its administrative system. Consider this one: I’ve just been invited to serve as a reviewer of research applications to the European Science Foundation (ESF). The invitation letter links to a registration website which I could access with a personal ID and password. So I did, and filled out all the necessary personal and professional information, and closed it — only to discover that I couldn’t print out the registration form for my own record or even get back to the site to correct the data. Once closed it remains closed; the ID/pw is only valid once, and I didn’t get a new set.

In other words, I cannot see or correct the information I’ve fed into the ESF-system (“Please note that once you have logged on and completed the form your access will be deactivated”, the screen says). I feel like K. in The Castle. I guess I could call or write to the admin assistants in the ESF office and ask them to be so kind as to allow me to read about myself — but I don’t know if they will grant me this privilege, and it will anyway cost me time and energy to do so. Why not allow reviewers direct on-line access to their own files? After all, even Facebook (which has been criticized severely) allows us to both read our personal pages and change them.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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