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.”
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