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Interesting perspective from a 2017 Nobel laureate


Cigarbutt
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I hear you.

It just seems that there may be too much sensitivity and an excessive tendency to turn everything in politics. No?

 

The idea behind the post was to potentially discuss issues about different types of biases: sponsor bias, authority bias, expertise bias, halo effect etc.

 

I recently attended a presentation about a study evaluating the effect of knowing the authors' names before accepting or not a specific study for publication.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the names listed on the top of the study had a significant impact on the decision.

Food for thought?

 

Obviously, if this thread continues to be alive and reverts to the primitive parts of triune brains, this thread may need to be moved.

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I recently attended a presentation about a study evaluating the effect of knowing the authors' names before accepting or not a specific study for publication.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the names listed on the top of the study had a significant impact on the decision.

 

I believe at least in Computer Science more and more conferences do reviews with author's names and identifying information removed. Does not guarantee completely blind results, since sometimes it's possible to guess who did the work and wrote the paper, but still.

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Am I alone in reading that buddy had studied to death the fruit flies to the point of earning a Nobel, and was whining because nobody would continue to fund the exploration of well-tilled ground?  And none of the top-tier journals wanted to continuously publish articles that were spawned from work done in the 80s?  That's how a meritocracy ought to work in my opinion.  You disinvest in well-tilled ground and you invest in exploring elsewhere.  But it was a worthwhile article to read.

 

 

SJ

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Am I alone in reading that buddy had studied to death the fruit flies to the point of earning a Nobel, and was whining because nobody would continue to fund the exploration of well-tilled ground?  And none of the top-tier journals wanted to continuously publish articles that were spawned from work done in the 80s?  That's how a meritocracy ought to work in my opinion.  You disinvest in well-tilled ground and you invest in exploring elsewhere.  But it was a worthwhile article to read.

 

SJ

 

Possible. Unless you are expert in the field, it's difficult to know how much his complaints are whining and how much they are truthful.

 

And even if you are in the field, it might be not easy to know. Let me give you an example. AI. People who are currently getting multi millions from Google/Facebook/Microsoft/etc./etc. got very little funding or recognition during AI winter. Nobody would continue to fund the exploration of well-tilled AI ground. And none of the top-tier journals wanted to continuously publish articles that were spawned from work done in the 80s ... until the tech caught up with the data and performance needs of the AI work done in the 80s and suddenly they became heroes again with huge funding/publications/prestige/etc.

 

Does this mean that AI researchers were rightly not funded because the field was "studied to death"?

Does it mean that they were maliciously not funded by short sighted new stars who moved on?

Does it mean that the funding process is broken?

 

I don't think there's a simple answer to this. There are situations where further funding for fruit flies is not productive. There are situations where the new stars are short sighted. There are situations where glory and results come back to being needed/interesting/productive. There are situations where the glory is past and never comes back.

 

Edit: University tenure is somewhat a solution for this issue. Yes, it's not a complete solution: it doesn't mean that you gonna get enough funding for research machines/materials/students. Yes, it has other problems that likely will be raised even on this thread. But it's an attempt to somewhat influence this issue.

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Am I alone in reading that buddy had studied to death the fruit flies to the point of earning a Nobel, and was whining because nobody would continue to fund the exploration of well-tilled ground?  And none of the top-tier journals wanted to continuously publish articles that were spawned from work done in the 80s?  That's how a meritocracy ought to work in my opinion.  You disinvest in well-tilled ground and you invest in exploring elsewhere.  But it was a worthwhile article to read.

SJ

 

Not so I sure how you know ground is well-tilled. Faraday start publicly talking about field concepts when he was 58 after most of his most celebrated experiments were already complete and when he had already suffered a nervous breakdown and was degrading mentally. And yet the field concept revolutionized physics completely. Quantum field theory, the Standard model...its all based on the ideas of Faraday.

 

The whole story is interesting. You start with Faraday and nobody listening to him. Then Maxwell revives Faraday and comes up with his equations and people don't really pay much attention to this either. And then finally the Maxwellians: Heaviside, FitzGerald, Lodge and Hertz coming in and basically relentlessly advocating for Maxwell's theory after Maxwell has died. I can't really imagine a group of scientists spending their whole career advocating for someone else's theory. Heaviside for instance completely reformulated Maxwell's equations and yet he has received little to zero credit for anything at all.

 

And all this work of the Maxwellian's point in nearly a straight line at Einstein's theory of Special Relativity.

 

These people were driven by something other than money, status or resources. The motivations of scientists today are far different.

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