I’m a Scientist and I am frustrated. Working late at night, writing articles at the weekend, getting paid half-time and working full-time, giving 15 minute presentations at conferences before an audience of a handful of people – only to survive in a broken system we call “Science”.
Today’s Science is a mess. Thousands of studies are getting published every week. Nobody knows what’s important or not. There are some studies which are really good, which take science a step further. However most studies don’t do that. Mostly researchers (me included) try and have to (!) publish every bit of data and results we have. In the end we create publications with non-relevant conclusions which are published in one of thousands different journals no one cares about.
However, that is not our own total fault. The success of our academic career is measured by the number of publications. And with “success” I mean money, contract duration and working conditions. Not even talking about fame and Nobel prices here ;-)
Barely speaking there is no time for thinking. No time for new ideas. No time for what science should be. It’s just publish as much as you can or perish and find another job. Publish or perish. That’s how we name this phenomena.
So, to express and deal with my frustration I created a website: PUBLISHORPUBLISH.com
My idea is to give all those studies we create day-to-day at least a little bit of meaning and to show everyone what’s wrong with today’s Science.
Here’s what I did:
First, I’ve searched for really stupid or pointless studies. Studies with no scientific value whatsoever or severe methodological flaws. Studies which describe themselves as “longitudinal” while only testing for 2 months. Studies with conclusions like “if you brush your teeth they get cleaner”. Basically studies which are a good example for the overall publish or perish phenomena.
Second, I started to cite every (!) word of those studies by referring to the vast amount of other studies published in the last 7 years. So, one study made up to thousands of unique references depending on the number of words of that study. After this procedure a 10-page study is accompanied by a 100-page reference list.
I want to give people an idea of how many studies are getting published nowadays and at the same time how useless some of them are. Normally if you are not a researcher you only read about studies when they are in the media. But that’s usually only one single study. And nobody mentions the 100+ studies that have also been published within the same day.
(To be fair: I love being a Scientist. Create new things. Meet and work with interesting people who have great ideas. But just like real relationships, if the conditions are not right things will start to get complicated at some point.)
More info: publishorpublish.com
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