This communication has been written on behalf of the council of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). We are very grateful to the Editorial Committee for providing us with the opportunity to set out our views before the international readership of the European Journal of Mineralogy.

We are at a moment in time when decision-makers in many countries are re-evaluating the support that they give to scientific research. The general public has become increasingly interested with certain aspects of science, such as genetic engineering, computer science and “cyber space”, and many of the more traditional disciplines have been taking a back...

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