Integrative Molecular Phenotyping
INTEGRATIVE MOLECULAR
PHENOTYPING
WHEELOCK LABORATORY

Blog Archive

It's time for academics to take back control of research journals

It's time for academics to take back control of research journals

Academic publishing is broken.  Predatory journals.  Corporations driven by profit.  University administrators too lazy to evaluate science and looking for an easy metric.  It is time to leave impact factor behind.  Move beyond surrendering copyright of taxpayer funding research to for-profit corporations.  Science knowledge is for the public who paid for the work.  Free science! 

Tags: 
Publishing

Is science loosing its way??

The rage over reproducibility in science continues.  I must admit that I find myself perplexed that this has even become an issue.  To me it seems completely and utterly natural that science requires replication.  The field of discovery and inquiry demands replication.  A single discovery, while exciting, is only that - a single report.  If you believe in your science - and your findings, would you not welcome replicaiton?  If your findings are replicated - then the field will continue to move forward.  If your findings are not replicated - then everyone has to take a step back and figure out what happened.  Of course the real problem here is the issue of how we publish our research.  The constant push to publish new findings makes the science of replication unglamorous at best - and top journals are certainly not interested in publishing these studies. The journals' push to make our Methods sections as short as possible - or even shoved to the oblivion of Supplemental Material - certainly exascerbates this problem.  What could be more important than a detailed presentation of the exact methods used to produce the published result?  Yet academic publishing considers the Methods to be almost irrelevant to the paper.  It is past time for scientists to demand a better model.  We want to be left alone to do perform our science, but we cannot ignore what is happening in the field.  Publishing needs a new paradigm - and it is up to scientists to make it happen.

Tags: 
statistics

Should taxpayers cover the light bills at university labs?

As the assualt on academic science continues, the question of indirect costs or overhead has been tossed into this toxic mix.  It seems to be a standard case of people (in this case anti-science politicians) not wanting to pay the full bill for the product they are buying.  I would turn this debate around and ask the question why certain charities and non-profits are excused from paying full overhead costs.  No matter how you slice it, most scientific research is expensive - and requires significant infrastructure. All of these components cannot be written into the costs of every grant. This includes costs for everything from lightbulbs and -80C freezers to rent for the lab space. Who should pay these costs?  I think that we can all agree that they should not be fiannced through tuition increases.  So what is left?  Either government (i.e., taxpayer) basic funding to universities has to increase - or the costs have to be covered in a research grant. If the budget is just "cut" to eliminate this "waste", then we will see a significant decrease in academic research - but also a decrease in student financial aid and a large number of other university programs as the basic fabric that enables a university function is slowly chipped away. 

Tags: 
funding

How we lost the world-changing power of useless knowledge

How we lost the world-changing power of useless knowledge

This article highlights a distrubing global trend.  The merging of market capaitalization with academics.  It is not longer acceptable to be an academic pursuing knowledge for the sake of knowledge.  Every EU grant demands a section on the market impact of the reserach.  How will the proposed experiments lead to a marketable product?  What is the business plan for the project intellectual property?  What type of return on the investment can be expected over what time frame?  The line between venture capitalists and funding agencies is merging - to the detriment of discovery science. The closing line of this article makes a powerful point - "The point of study is to create a civilisation worth saving."  The world has lost sight of that - and we are all poorer.

Tags: 
research

The findings of medical research are disseminated too slowly

The findings of medical research are disseminated too slowly

Academic publishing is broken.  It is time for a change - or even a revolution - in publishing. The impact factor fallacy that a single metric somehow both predicts the importance of the publication and reflects the scientific prowess of its authors needs to fall. Science and knowledge should be open and readily available to the world - that is the ethos of our endeavors.

Tags: 
Publishing

A sad day for science

US science agencies face deep cuts in Trump budget

Continued efforts to destroy the quest for knowledge.  It is disturbing that the world is turning its back on science.  Discovery brings out the best of humanity - making the world a better place for everyone.  Shortsighted attempts to stifle science will make us all poorer. 

Tags: 
funding

Should scientists engage in activism?

Should scientists engage in activism?

In an era of "alternative facts" and pseudo sciencee, it is important that we as scientists stand up for both good science as well as moral science. We cannot ignore the implications of our findings. We have a duty to communicate our results to politicians and the general public to ensure that our research helps those who need it most. 

Addressing Biomedical Science’s PhD Problem

And yet another article on the dwindling prospects for a career in academics. If you are going to get a PhD, you really need to ask yourself why.  This quote from the article really says it all: “They’re really not ‘alternative’ careers anymore,” says Larry Petcovic of careers services company SciPhD. Rather, for today’s bioscience PhD workforce, “it’s academia that’s the alternative now.”

Tags: 
research

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