At Facebook Jean-Francois Garlépy, a Duke University researcher, expresses how he has become fed up with the inner workings of western academia and is resigning. Hat-tip: reader Magnum.
This week, I resigned from my position at Duke University with no intent to solicit employment in state-funded academic research positions in any foreseeable future. Many reasons have motivated this choice, starting with personal ones: I will soon be a father and want to be spending time with my son at home.
Other reasons have to do with research academia itself. Throughout the years, I have been discovering more and more of the inner workings of academia and how modern scientific research is done and I have acquired a certain degree of discouragement in face of what appears to be an abandonment by my research community of the search for knowledge. I found scientists to be more preoccupied by their own survival in a very competitive research environment than by the development of a true understanding of the world.
By creating a highly-competitive environment that relies on the selection of researchers based on their “scientific productivity,” as it is referred to, we have populated the scientific community with what I like to call “chickens with no head,” that is, researchers who can produce multiple scientific articles per year, none of which with any particularly important impact on our understanding of the world. Because of this…”
(Continue reading here).
The fact that the peer-review system does not care about looking at the data is not in any way reassuring about this concern. Furthermore, a large portion of the time of a scientist is spent on frivolous endeavors such as submitting a grant request to 5-10 agencies in the hope that one of them will accept. Finally, our scientific publication system has become so corrupted that it is almost impossible to get a scientific article published in an important journal without talking one-on-one with the editor before submitting the article.”
Later on he writes:
My most important scientific articles were accepted in major journals because the editors had a favorable prejudice toward me or my co-authors, …”
The scientific publication system portrays itself as a strict system for the evaluation of the importance of individual scientific contributions to knowledge, but anyone who has participated to this system and became good at it knows that the true factors that influence the publication of a scientific work have to do with social networking and, in many cases, straight-out corruption.”
Read entire comment here.
4 responses to “Fed Up! Duke University Researcher Resigns: “High Number” Of Scientific Articles “Published With Fraudulent Data”!”
Academia in starting to collapse upon itself due to its own corruption…
From my own past experience (both good and bad) with the peer-review system, I can confirm Garlépy’s general assessment, against modern peer-review; when I was a co-author, back in the 1980s, with a well-connected principal author, the papers were always published immediately, but when, in another research position in the 1990s, I authored papers (of critical importance to revealing the truth) that were opposed by my immediate superior, it took 2 years, and I’m sure the hidden (from me) support of other principal investigators critical of my superior, before those papers were finally published. I even wrote to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, in the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) about it, back in 2003, in response to their solicitation of opinions about peer-review. My 2003 letter is online here. I identify the anonymity of reviewers–in other words, lack of transparency concerning likely conflicts of interests on the part of reviewers–as being of prime concern to me. I also liken the competitive atmosphere in the publishing process, among principal investigators, to a feudal system of jealous lords, who basically only listen and respond to one another, not to independents and “underlings” (research associates) who seek to publish on their own. This guarantees that their “feuds” (lordly, but incompetent, since they never admit any evidence as definitive, as true science and the real workings of the natural world demand) are unending, so their federal grants are unending.
What happens when there is no peer-review is that the editors and/or owners of the journal are the reviewers. Without peer-review articles are published on the basis of social, political or religious affiliation. Elements of this are similar to what actually happens in scientific peer-review. But there is a difference. The scientific peer-review process at least tries to be a non-partisan third party and objective review process.
In short, with all of its flaws the peer-review process is superior to the non-peer-reviewed journals. Non-peer-reviewed journals do not even pretend to be objective third-party. Nor do they even pretend to be non-partisan. Furthermore, one cannot critique a non-peer-reviewed editorial board, as they do not even pretend to be unbiased.
What Winston Churchill said about democracy being the best of the worst, a similar thing could be said of peer-review.
The question isn’t current peer review vs current non-peer review. Both are worthless.
Science is broken. It has no quality control. Examine how the egregiously flawed hockey stick became the poster child of modern science. No one checks the work. Without quality control, science is unable to give society the advice it needs.