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scientific studies corrupted by short gains
Posted by: Panchito ()
Date: March 15, 2015 04:03PM



The pressures on young scientists are enormous. After years of education, they emerge to find themselves scrambling for jobs in an unforgiving world. Some scientists survive. Some make it out through perseverance and hard work, some are in the right place at the right time, yet others take less illustrious approaches as they discover the system can be gamed.

The system can be gamed. There are ways to reduce the pressure and follow an easier path towards perceived “success”, and several scientists have been spotted following this road (with unknown numbers still following it, wittingly or unwittingly). Through highlighting such examples in this talk, we can get a glimpse of what risks lie ahead for the pressured and unwary scientist on a slippery slope.

The reasons for this gameability of science lie in the values of our society. We can point out a few easy culprits. We can point to the enormous pressures to succeed coupled with a skewed understanding of success. To the propensity of administrative staff to elevate metrics beyond their application limits. To the push from the public to make complex science palatable, and demand quick, polarized answers to increasingly intricate questions. To the efforts from progressively obsolete for-profit publishers struggling to highlight their relevance by peddling inadequate impact factors. Examples will be shown, unfortunate details will be brought to the surface.

This talk has it all. A warning message, cringe-worthy examples, and real-life experience from a young old fart drawing experience from so many more. Science is in trouble, and it is starting to show. Something is rotten in the state of science.

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