Weekend reads: Scientific society vote rigging; why publish in predatory journals; academic apartheid?

booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a new member of our leaderboard and a discussion of what would happen if peer reviewers didn’t look at results. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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5 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Scientific society vote rigging; why publish in predatory journals; academic apartheid?”

  1. On “Five (bad) reasons to publish in a predatory journal”, I think the author forgot to include legitimising dodgy research. I increasingly see anti-vaxxers, climate-change skeptics and even pro-lifers, quoting “research” from these journals, as they respond to the demand for “show me the evidence”. The utter hokum found in some of these journal is staggering.

    1. We have prospective postgraduates who include their own as examples of research potential. I don’t think they realise that they would be better off without, both theirs and the other papers. Obviously no peer review.

  2. the daniel sarewitz’ article “saving science” in the new atlantis seems to make one fundamental mistake – confusing science with engineering. they are closely interconnected, but definitely not the same. more, if some one wants to develop some new technology or approach (e.g. as for the treatment for the patients with brain deceases), it is needless to accuse science of “reductionism” (i am afraid, this is one the most misinterpreted words when talking about science), it is rather a better solution to give grant money directly to such research&development. and repeating the whitesides’ poorly evidenced slogan “purely curiosity-driven science has delivered only one or two fundamentally transformational breakthroughs” really points on gaps in history of science knowledge – i hardly believe that albert einstein developed his relativity theory not by pure curiosity; not mentioning many more discoveries. even the transistor effect did not appear out of clear air, there was a work of liliefeld, whose patents were used to construct it in bell labs. also it was not built because they already knew what it would be good for, but just out of curiosity, what and why it may preform.

    science is a process fuelled not by visions of some particular application (this is often a road to hell, because people tend not to see what there is, but rather what they want to see), but by curiosity, by ability to methodically recognise and determine “rules” in the noise of the world around. the polish logician and philosopher jan lukasiewicz said in 1912 (liberal translation from “o tworczosci w nauce / on creativity in science”) that “all what we thing is the purpose of science (search for truth, practicalness), it rather is not, except for curiosity, which leads through enthusiasm to attempts to understand”. science survives because it is beneficial, but not directly, more likely as a source of solutions for engineering (that is also the reason why science is much much younger that engineering).

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