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What happens to science field?


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#1 Biog

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 02:13 PM

Hi,

I feel that science is losing its "honorable" place because business and artificial prestige pollute the scientific fields.
Here are some example:

1) rubbish rating system for universities and scientists (and almost for everything in life; top journal, top university, top iPad, top model, top woman, top cars, top top top...etc.)!
We are becoming just a number in a queue of material class);
2) foolish publication race (pretexed by a stupid and silly unspoken rule: "publish or perish"!);
3) associating funding to reputation and publishing record;
4) stupid and biased impact factor with subjective and business purposes behind ;
5) hiring mostly on the basis of publishing record and journal name (so, on false prestige basis) or boosting by colleges or boss.

6) paid-access for knowledge (high fees for journal subscriptions!)! Knowledge shouldn't be free ?
Etc etc…. of spoken or unspoken rules or malicious practices that deform science..
What is happening for science?
Why this ignobility in science?
Do you find this normal?
How is it believable that scientists, supposedly to be the most honest and objective people on earth (sic), let themselves tempted by such dirtiness?
Where are we going with such dangerous drifting in science?

Science and scientist shouldn't be objective and oriented towards "human happiness" and problem solving without profits notion in mind ?
Do you think that Albert Einstein, Gregor Mendel or Galileo Galilei etc., if they were working in such materialistic atmosphere would succeed or appreciate this foolish environment?
Did they were concerned by which journal or which impact factor they will get?

The most striking is that so many of so called "scientific people" or even "highly ranked" scientists are playing this dirty game and continue to distort science form its noble objectives and human values.
Why scientists do nothing to stop this materialistic course?
Why scientists are more and more lamb, easily influenced and absorbed by superficial values, rather than to be influential people for good practices and values in their societies ?

What do you think about these questions?
It is money question...right ?
How regrettable is that...

Regards,

Edited by Biog, 28 October 2012 - 02:53 PM.

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#2 pcrman

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:34 PM

I could not agree more on what you said. I think the two biggest polluters to science are impact factor and Nature Publishing group which makes publishing a pure business.

#3 Biog

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 07:46 PM

I could not agree more on what you said.

What don't you agree with?

I think the two biggest polluters to science are impact factor..

Yes, impact factor is the most stupid thing ever established in science.
Take a look here:
https://dspace.lib.c...itique_2009.pdf

The so-called Impact Factor let suppose that:

1) There are some journals better than others, although journal value, if any, should go to authors not to the journal itself, because the journal is just a support for what authors report; without authors, journals don't exist.
So, an impact factor of journals is a big scam. The impact, if any, is for authors not for journals.
Many "prestigious" journals start to abuse of this so-called impact factor taking advantage of the ignorance of many so-called scientists, who apparently ignore why, how and for which purposes the impact factor has been established.
For me, the true impact factor is what is the concrete realization made based on a published paper, whatever the journal is, but not how many times a paper was theoretically cited here and there.
A true impact factor is thus the impact in the real life, not an abstract impact factor driven from an artificial number of citation times.

2) The second false supposition behind the impact factor is; there are some authors superior to others, albeit we all know that this is absolutely NOT true, especially in biology and genetics!
It is just a question of money, research subject and chance! Beyond that, all humans are equals, aren't they?
Isn't the result about human equality has been published in Nature itself (in 2001) about human genome where it was reported that humans share up to 99.9% of their genetic information ? (without mentioning animals and plants with which we also share high percent of homology)?
So, what does mean to classify humans based on a subjective criterion?
The innumerable contradictory opinions and the different viewpoints in science make it difficult to believe that rating in science is a good thing!

Nature Publishing group makes publishing a pure business.

Yes, very true.
Nature journal plays with the historical British arrogance, added to it now a false prestige, making things detestable when it comes to Nature policy and its multiple journal affiliations.
What is the value of Nature without its authors? Naught.
I think that, many authors are in some way responsible for the discrepancy, subjectivity and dishonesty of the publishing policy, because they believe and run behind stupid criteria in science.
In fact, it seems that many of brilliant scientists ignore what really the impact factor does mean and how it was created and for which purposes.
If they knew, they may change mind about the value they give to the impact factor and about the journals boasting IF ostentatiously!
Some people who publish in Nature think they are now from another superior world and the rest of people are from the bottom world!
I can hardly believe that there are scientists who run behind an artificial and subjective tool such as the impact factor. This looks exactly like some ordinary people who run behind gossips!
This is simply a shame in science and for scientists themselves. But do we realize it really?
This is the question!
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#4 hobglobin

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:12 AM

Scientists are also just humans and therefore the system is surely not perfect and it changes with it's environment i.e. the society...today's science therefore is more commercial and more competitive compared to earlier times. In my opinion some of the excesses of the neo-liberal economy influence science and lead to some of these changes and reflect a change in society and its economy.
But in earlier times nothing was better and only some of the influences of society were different and the perhaps competition was not that pronounced.
In earlier times these where also professors and PIs (with permanent and tenure) who rarely or never published at all, but why did they do science then? And at that time you got a position because of connections and not publication records...Therefore some rating and a system in science is necessary and also the need or duty to publish.
Plagiarism and fraud was also common, but people had not the means of today to detect it, Mendel is btw an example...therefore it's not more fraud but only more detectable.
Science as you describe it is very idealistic, but it was never like that...most scientific records, inventions and discoveries were made for warfare purposes (and many of the brilliant scientists worked for such aims, also Galilei and Einstein...) . Compared to that working for materialistic aims is quite harmless....
Anyway you have some good points that are undesirable developments and need reformations.
And: Do you have any ideas how to improve the system? (in order to not only complaining but give some productive feedback?)

Edited by hobglobin, 29 October 2012 - 09:18 AM.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#5 leelee

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:32 PM

The most striking is that so many of so called "scientific people" or even "highly ranked" scientists are playing this dirty game and continue to distort science form its noble objectives and human values.
Why scientists do nothing to stop this materialistic course?
Why scientists are more and more lamb, easily influenced and absorbed by superficial values, rather than to be influential people for good practices and values in their societies ?

What do you think about these questions?
It is money question...right ?
How regrettable is that...

Regards,


Look you could be the most brilliant mind to ever grace the face of this planet and yet you could do NOTHING for science or humanity without funding. That is just how it is. Regrettable? Perhaps.

Doing science costs money. There are lots and lots of scientists. There is a finite amount of money for science.

Somehow the public need to decide (through funding bodies/governments etc) how to allocate that money. This means ranking scientists and ranking their work. Is the ranking system used currently a flawed system? Yep.
Can you think of a better one?

#6 Biog

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:53 AM

In my opinion some of the excesses of the neo-liberal economy influence science and lead to some of these changes and reflect a change in society and its economy.

Yes, I also think it is the reason.
But what is, then, the role of scientists, thinkers and deciders if they don't try to knock the alarm and avoid deviations?

In earlier times these where also professors and PIs (with permanent and tenure) who rarely or never published at all, but why did they do science then?

Why should we think that science is, and must be only, to write and publish?
When you teach, you do science too! When you teach you do better science than you write it! Because science is made to be conveyed not to sleep in books and journals. Otherwise, it doesn't serve.
Teaching is the true science which leads to do things, then to publish results, then to teach again and so on.
Teaching could be much more effective and influential than writing and publishing.


Science as you describe it is very idealistic,

By definition and goals, science is idealistic and it should be so and stay it.
If science is not idealistic which other method or thing should be idealistic?

but it was never like that...most scientific records, inventions and discoveries were made for warfare purposes (and many of the brilliant scientists worked for such aims, also Galilei and Einstein...) . Compared to that working for materialistic aims is quite harmless....

Yes, but this is not incompatible with the points raised above.

Anyway you have some good points that are undesirable developments and need reformations.
And: Do you have any ideas how to improve the system? (in order to not only complaining but give some productive feedback?)

Yes, I do: Posted Image
Simply we should stop to rate things subjectively, at least in science. Stop to rate everything surrounding us.
Stop to give virtual and useless impact factor to journals. Let people judge by themselves.
We have to have journals but why we have to rate them? Particularly if they all use the same scientific method to judge and review articles?
Why not let people judge what inside by themselves? Like for books, there are no IF but people evaluate the books they read.
The same should be for articles and journals.
Just leave people free without influencing them or misleading them by untrue, business-biased rating.
Do you really think that rating universities or journals is a good thing or good approach?
As biologists how do we do our experiments to be valid and reliable?

If we carry out an experiment to compare two populations (humans, animals, plants, animals or insects ..etc), shouldn't we use exactly the same setting for all groups except for one or more variables being investigated?
For example, when we compare two groups of humans, we should pay attention that the two groups are comparable in everything: sex, age,...habits, etc.
Then, making observation, collecting data... and write down results and making analysis.
So, if we have to study a phenomenon in 1000 human subjects and see how it is distributed between men and women, our sample should be composed of equal number: 500 men, 500 women (plus, minus one or two is ok, but not more!)
all subject should have comparable ages in both groups (say: 30-35 years old);
all should eat the same or different meal, habits, origin, smoking...(one or more variable at a time).
the experiment should be carried out for all subjects for the same time.
In such a way, we do a scientific comparison, but if we compare 990 women to 10 men, aged 70-80 against 20-30 years old, we do false science.
And, this is exactly what rating COMPANIES do to rate universities and journals; they compare and rate heterogeneous structures, different in almost everything even in languages and workday lengths!
Do you think, so, that is reasonable to compare a university with 50,000 students, 2000 researchers, a budget of billions of dollars with another university with only 5,000 student, 5 researchers with only 100 thousands of dollars?
Is this a scientific approach?
If we want to rate universities fairly, then we should compare institutions with exactly the same or comparable number of students and teachers, same or comparable lab settings and facilities, same or comparable number of researchers and technicians.... and give them the same amount of money and equipment, under same or comparable work conditions...
In this case, yes we can effectively compare and rate universities in a scientific valid method and the result will be trustable.

Otherwise, rating universities is just a big lie, established just for business and money.
The same goes for journal rating and impact factor (IF).
Those who make rating have to have shame when they think or speak about university rating and journal IF.

The big contradiction in rating scientific staffs and stuffs is that they are rated by using non-scientific methods!

Amazing, isn't it ?

Edited by Biog, 30 October 2012 - 08:39 AM.

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#7 Biog

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 02:27 AM

Look you could be the most brilliant mind to ever grace the face of this planet and yet you could do NOTHING for science or humanity without funding.


Right, I agree.
But the problem actually is not in the need for funding, but how funding is distributed.
Currently and mostly, it is unfairly distributed, in my view.

There are lots and lots of scientists. There is a finite amount of money for science.

A lot of scientists? Yes, though it depends on domain.
A finite amount of money for science? Yes, although an infinite amount of money is already available for much less important things than science.
Here an example taken from my TV channels Posted Image
You may find the same on your TV channel too:
On my TV, there are five official channels on which there are multiple money games DAILY, at morning, noon and evening, ranging from around $100 to $500,000 or even more for each games!
Let us humbly assume that only $50,000 is wined, distributed, in all the games/day, all times (morning, midday and evening) at the 5 channels.
Let's now do some simple math to see how much money is "wasted" yearly just for TV games (mostly for people who don't necessarily need money):
50,000 x 365 = $18,250,000
Without taking in account other channels and money wastes on TV (e.g ads, useless programs..etc).
How many scientists and research projects could be funded with such money? And if we take all wasted form of money by innumerable ways in society?


Somehow the public need to decide (through funding bodies/governments etc) how to allocate that money. This means ranking scientists and ranking their work.

Yes, but why ranking?
Healthcare is only distributed to people when needed, why the same could not be done for researchers?

Can you think of a better one?

Yes:
We just need stop rating. Posted Image
Just avoid rating, simply and frankly.
There is a lot of money that could be given to researchers and university without rating.
It is just a question of good management and administration.
We don't need rating because it is simply unfair and nonhuman, non scientific criteria.
Things will work just fine, if not better, without rating.

The world population is now around 7 billions inhabitants, but how many billionaires with more than 50 billions dollars in the world?
At least hundreds, right? Each of them has about ten times more money than the whole population in world!
What do they do with all that money? Why they don't fund research? Worst, they often evade taxes!
This is just to say that there is a lot of money but it is badly managed and unfairly distributed...

Edited by Biog, 30 October 2012 - 08:45 AM.

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#8 Inbox

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 06:14 AM

Haha, great........

@ Biog, I heard story long back when there is single train (almost full of passenger) and when it stops at platform with lot of passenger. Initially peoples inside train won't allow outside passenger's to come inside. Outsider's struggle's a lot to get inside train. Somehow when outside passenger's get inside that train. At next station their obvious response is to not allow outside passenger's from platform to come inside.

I think you are standing at platform. Will see you at next station stop.Posted Image

Edited by prabhubct, 30 October 2012 - 06:15 AM.


#9 Inbox

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 06:55 AM

Difficult to quote your para, trying

Why should we think that science is, and must be only, to write and publish?
When you teach, you do science too! When you teach you do better science than you write it! Because science is made to be conveyed not to sleep in books and journals. Otherwise, it doesn't serve.
Teaching is the true science which leads to doing, then to publish, then to teach and so on.
Teaching could be much more effective and influential than writing and publishing.


In teaching profession teacher has more or less but fixed mindset. Their work is to teach what is established facts. In many cases they might not maintain interest of teaching new stuff ( Either they can't or they won't bother when push factor is absent).
I will wonder even slightest fact I unravel in my lab and I give it to teacher to teach them instead of publishing it. What if fact was significant but teacher did not thought that idea is significant, he just gave up teaching it. Plus way you suggest may create autocracy in bit. what if teachers starts asking for favour to discuss your idea. you may be suggesting to open door's of Communism then?


About your idea of no impact factor - are you suggesting one journal of all topic?- How will you know novel work from mere repetition? It may create havoc. There may be some injustice as person one time publishes in nature gets chance easily to publish again in it. But to publish for first time person has taken pains to start something novel. Can you tell if you got very novel technique by which you can rapidly differentiate stem cell into desired tissues and so into organ. Where would you think of first publishing it?
If u approach nature then will it refuse? I think they may not. If they do, You will be just standing in list where nature refused but still you work is revolution. It's ironic but when peoples takes your name they will definitely mention nature, here they may be undermining nature but at least there is standard to compare your work.

and about
Knowledge shouldn't be free ?

Just for fun
Posted Image

Edited by prabhubct, 30 October 2012 - 07:46 AM.


#10 hobglobin

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:50 AM

Well for me teaching is not science...it's something completely different...you just repeat some standard experiments with known outcome and explain assured knowledge that is usually not the last and newest stuff. And you discuss theories that are usually also quite assured, though the last (if this exists anyway) proof is missing. That's it mostly.

And though I don't want to defend the impact factor it's not an arbitrarily found factor but calculated by the citations of the papers in the journals...So it has some right to exist, and the corrected or normalised versions anyway. I think mostly the high or even outstanding importance and exclusive use and acceptation is too much and exaggerated...there should be other (better) measures too.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#11 Biog

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 05:40 PM

Haha, great........

@ Biog, I heard story long back when there is single train (almost full of passenger) and when it stops at platform with lot of passenger. Initially peoples inside train won't allow outside passenger's to come inside. Outsider's struggle's a lot to get inside train. Somehow when outside passenger's get inside that train. At next station their obvious response is to not allow outside passenger's from platform to come inside.

I think you are standing at platform. Will see you at next station stop.


I have also heard the same story, but science is another story. Posted Image
Maybe if the train's driver was my buddy, it would leave me get inside, maybe in his driving cabinet!
And also, if people outside the were friends of those inside it, there will let them come inside!
I have worked narrowly with people, in a neighbor lab to the mine, who published in Nature. Knowing how they work, how they think, I'm not impressed by their Nature papers! I also didn't see any impact of their work compared to the mine which wasn't published in Nature!
I just see their name cited here and there with false brand "Nature" and they easily move here and there to give talk about their super-mega-giga paper in Nature!
But for what? ... Really, I'm hardly believe it.
Is it normal that because I have my name printed in journal X rather than journal Y, I should become more privileged than others? Albeit others worked as good as me, if not better, spent time in doing research as me and in same place, etc.

About your idea of no impact factor - are you suggesting one journal of all topic?

No.Just avoiding to fit to impact factors and remove it from the current and next coming new journals.

How will you know novel work from mere repetition?

So, you think that Nature is important to announce novelties?
OK, admit. Does this mission deserves prestigious and pretentiousness place?
With TV, phone, and internet now, people know easily about the novelties.
We pubish in any journal that meet the scope.
On other hand, if we have to fit to journal scope, Nature should publish only paper about the Nature, not particularly about stem cell or genetic.

Edited by Biog, 30 October 2012 - 06:26 PM.

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#12 Inbox

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:40 AM

@ Biog: I know a person to whom peoples publishing in Nature use to always refer to. But he has no paper in nature, He may have been to great place if his place of research and administrative snag would have been good. In his view he feels no regret for things. I can hardly doubts his command on subject something is less than those at Harvard and Oxford. But Where person stands?

About complaining about things As George Carlin said: Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

And no driver of train is hardly a friend with anybody. You can always complain about administration but till you are at policy making or decision making position it will hardly matter. It's really good that you feel concern about science impact factor. But can we really expect Biog Factor in near future? Many peoples have discussed fact's with no action. I doubt where you stand.

@ Hob: I really hate giving something out of blue and just defend it for sake of defending. But Usually many peoples are, materialistic, do things for benefit. Very less peoples are philanthropic and I don't what will be fate of poor who is philanthropic ( Except from fairy tales). Not Sure is it right explanation or not but that's all I have.

And to emphasize here as already stated in some other post peoples think I am Naive and innocent. If you feel hurt you can always say why listen to naive! But I really doubt about innocence.

Damn! I really hate Philosophy and psychology.

off the book discussion- I think I'm getting addicted to Bioforum. It's really too good, good than facebook for me. But it's time I take a break for rehab. see you later guys.

Edited by prabhubct, 31 October 2012 - 12:49 AM.


#13 leelee

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 02:09 AM


Somehow the public need to decide (through funding bodies/governments etc) how to allocate that money. This means ranking scientists and ranking their work.

Yes, but why ranking?
Healthcare is only distributed to people when needed, why the same could not be done for researchers?

Can you think of a better one?

Yes:
We just need stop rating. Posted Image
Just avoid rating, simply and frankly.
There is a lot of money that could be given to researchers and university without rating.
It is just a question of good management and administration.
We don't need rating because it is simply unfair and nonhuman, non scientific criteria.
Things will work just fine, if not better, without rating.


I disagree strongly with a lot of this.

Firstly to compare equal access to healthcare (which is an ideal and not yet achieved anywhere in my opinion) to funding of science is a poor analogy. Every human life has equal worth, every scientific idea does not.
I would be most upset if scientific funding was handed out on a everyone is equal basis instead of on the basis of merit.

If you were arguing that the measure of merit is flawed, I could agree with you- but you aren't. You are saying there should be no ranking, no rating. This is wrong.

Imagine how pissed off you'd be if the guy in the lab next to you with his flawed hypothesis, uncontrolled and lazy experiments was getting the same amount of funding as you?

Equal funding for all is not fair.

#14 Biog

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 05:45 AM

If you were arguing that the measure of merit is flawed, I could agree with you- but you aren't.

This is exactly what I wished to say, but I said it badly, I apologize.
The measures of merit and rating are flaw and unfair.

Equal funding for all is not fair.

Not equal funding but proportional funding, depending on the project size, its importance..etc and after examination, of course.
My claim is not to give money without consideration, but to remove flaw rating and ranking, and "purify" science from the materialistic concepts that pollute it.
That's all.
Imagine that you work on a given research project but you didn't obtain results, what is next in the light of materialistic rating basis?
With rating and ranking system, this means that you won't, or hardly, obtain funding for other research projects because you didn't get results and publication from your other projects (so you are bad according to this flaw system). You won't get funding unless you are known and well supported by a strong network. This is unfair.
Also, the risk of funding race and publishing is that unscrupulous researchers may falsify data to publish and have funding or position. There is a lot of examples, alas, including people who published in Science and Nature! Google it, you'll find a lot.


@ prabhubct
I may quote you later, particularly for Facebook that I have in head as a bad example for the waste of money (and time), but I forgot to mention it.


Regards,
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#15 leelee

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:20 AM


If you were arguing that the measure of merit is flawed, I could agree with you- but you aren't.

This is exactly what I wished to say, but I said it badly, I apologize.


Posted Image I should apologise, actually. I came across rather harsh. Sorry I misunderstood you!




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