originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: Byrd
On a related topic, lets talk journal publication, peer review, and how that ties to grant money.
First, peer review. Its a fairly well known fact that what we call "peer review" is in fact just a nebulous group of people competing against you for
grant money reading what you publish and choosing not to raise a stink about it. That is it. If no one publishes a refutation of your findings, and
you don't have mass rejection based on merit alone, you are generally considered "peer reviewed". Even if a few "experts" (i.e., your competition for
grant funding) still maintain you're a kook. (1)
I am confused by the "competition for grant funding" statement. I actually was involved in a peer review for a publication and I can assure you that
the papers I read were certainly within my field of expertise but that the topics would hardly have been competition for a grant.
That sort of reads like 'there's only six possible things you could research in science and everyone is fighting for money'.
And lets be honest: when it comes to peer review, people are only proofreading publications.
I think that you believe this is an honest assessment. However those here who have been through the peer review process and who have done peer review
would dispute this. I know that the feedback I got was certainly NOT "proofreading" for any of the things I've had published.
There are other reviews of peer review (you have an article that's over a decade old) and a number of organizations have modified processes for peer
The scientific principle is an ideal that we strive for.
Not really. Science is uncomfortable. It changes paradigms and people don't like the rug being pulled out from under them. Not usually. Not unless
puzzles excite you. Not unless you love going where others have not gone.
Look around the boards. Read the scorn that people have - and think about what the average article here on ATS looks like. How many have a depth of
knowledge about the field they're discussing (or complaining about?)
The 'comfortable' way of 'science' that people like tends to be "I thought of a cool idea and here's some stuff that supports it."
Often, we call things science that are very unscientific (psychology).
I would disagree - but I have a different understanding of science.
I think the only way to address the human condition in this regard is to leverage technology to at least review the mathematics, and then find
a way to make it worthwhile to publish tests of replication on prior publications so that science is incentivized to police itself.
My most recent research (tiny as it was) took over a year to complete. Who do you think would want to spend the time repeating my tiny research which
did not have any commercial value - when they could be working on their own research? Something big. Something marvelous. Look at any PhD
dissertation and ask what kind of organization would redo all these dissertations every year (thousands each year, in all the languages of the world.)
The universe trusts college and university committees to vet them.
The papers that you see in journals are often the result of years and years of work (like
this one that took five years and involved 819,963 patients)
in a specialized environment and with one specific condition. Can you imagine
how slow progress would be if we had to wait for four (or even two) replications of that data? Or how hard it would be to find 819,963 people who
matched exactly the ones in the first study (and that would be AFTER they got permission to do human research (which is a bloody pain in the neck and
I speak from personal (and aggravated) experience) and permission from the patients themselves?)
And there are checks and balances along the way.
It's been argued that scientists need to get out of the lab and talk to the public more so they'll understand better about how science is done and
reviewed...but that only works if people have a positive attitude toward science. In a hostile environment, it's impossible to explain why knowing
how long an occurrence of urination is supposed to last will lead to new treatments, new diagnoses (including in the area of psychology), and new
tests for drugs. The average person will see "scientists wasting their time and money over people peeing."
In America, things are increasingly hostile towards science. I'm seeing interesting stuff from Canada; I suspect research focus will shift from
America to there.