Daniel Lemire's blog

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Creating incentives for better science

One thought on “Creating incentives for better science”

  1. Many years ago, when I was researching on the old DARPANET, invariably, there were far more citations than I could ever read (let alone purchase on the typical budget). Especially when researching a subject with which I was relatively unfamiliar, filtering out the chaff was quite difficult. I quickly uncovered a valuable filter: those who publish frequently very seldom are publishing new work, and very seldom is one going to find significant information in these works. On the other hand, authors who publish quite infrequently quite often have the most valuable information as a proportion of total words to read. Even though this is not a “fool proof” filter, it still seems viable in today’s world. The value of an author’s output is inversely proportional to the frequency of publication.
    Also, when one thinks of the personal investment that an investigator has made in achieving status within his chosen field, it is understandable that: first, he is going to be more prone to accept the “conventional wisdom of the years” through habit as much as through any rational analysis of the evidence, and, secondly, who is going to willingly throw out a lifetime of study and learning, admitting that that lifetime was mostly wasted effort? It is a whole lot easier to tweak the old model to account for new evidence than it is to build a whole new model…