Parkinson, not cheating

Via UncommonDescent, suspicion falls on the work of a Nobel-winner in genetics.

Several research articles co-authored by Nobel-prizewinning geneticist Gregg Semenza are being investigated by publishers after internet sleuths raised concerns about the integrity of images in the papers. Journals have already retracted, corrected or expressed concerns about 17 papers over the past decade, and others are investigating image- and data-integrity issues in further studies. …He published his Nobel-prizewinning work in the 1990s; the latest concerns focus on related molecular-biology research published since.

I’ve never heard of Semenza, so can’t really judge what’s going on. But this sounds more like Parkinson than cheating. When you have ONE GOAL, you turn stale after achieving ONE GOAL.

Academia forces a singular tunnel-vision focus on LONG-TERM GOALS. You spend 10 years trying to reach the PhD, then another 7 in a ‘probationary’ condition trying to achieve tenure. Then, if you’re really ambitious, you try for the Nobel.

A single miss along the path, a short pub-count or displeased mentor, knocks you entirely down, and you have to find a less prestigious career.

This long-term all-or-nothing path induces cheating. If you don’t grab every advantage you’re gone. And after you reach the goal the game is over. Parkinson.

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My eternal immodest proposal: Eliminate tenure and grants. Chop up projects into much smaller pieces and fund each piece from people who stand to profit from a SOLVED PROBLEM. Follow the Trinity House model, where a specific SOLUTION is the goal, and the SOLUTION naturally generates payment from the users of the SOLUTION. Trinity House has avoided the Parkinson fate for 500 years, so they must be doing something right.

New MODEST proposal for MODEST science. Make science more like an everyday artisan job. Instead of a 10-year goal, have one-day or one-hour jobs. Not quite all the way down to assembly-line work, where the goal is to install the same bolt every second; more like an auto mechanic who successfully repairs and tests five engines in a day.

Jobs with daily satisfaction are the best way out of criminality.

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