Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

« living in a powder keg | Main


Andrew Gelman

I agree with most of what you write, but I don't buy this bit: "to oversimplify a bit, this creates two classes of researchers. the everyday researchers and the well-connected. while the everyday researcher has to play by the official rules, and work to get a good reputation the hard way, by doing good science, the well-connected researchers get a free ride."

Yeah, I get that you say you're oversimplifying. But I don't think your description is an oversimplification, I think it's way off. I say this for two reasons:

1. Lots of "everyday," non-well-connected researchers still do bad science and get published in good journals. They're not well-connected, but some way or another they figure out how to do it, and journals publish their work. Just to choose an example, was Satoshi Kanazawa "well-connected" when he published his terrible papers claiming that beautiful parents had more daughters, etc.? I don't think so.

2. Lots of well-connected researchers "work to get a good reputation the hard way, by doing good science."

I agree with you that there are different paths to success. I'm just wary of your framing as of the outsiders being the good guys and the well-connected being the bad guys. I say this partly because I'm about as well-connected as you can get (Ph.D. from Harvard, etc.) and partly because one thing we've seen in the past is the old guard attempting to quash dissent and criticism by claiming that the bad science being criticized is being done by vulnerable early-career researchers. The vulnerable early-career researchers who publish bad work are taking space and attention that could be going to vulnerable early-career researchers who publish good work!

The comments to this entry are closed.