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Comment Re:We need to wind back the clock... (Score 5, Interesting) 142

Many of the things you're talking about doing as an editor are not... valuable. The idea that there is value in prestige for publishing has been a disaster for science. This is a concept that is only about 40 years old, it is not some great tradition of science. Prestige publishing is immensely useful to professors and publishers, but not anyone else. We are at a historic low point for production of science that is useful or interesting to the general public when looking at per scientist or per dollar spent. We are epically failing to identify, execute, and communicate important research. In short, scientists and publishers do not know what "high quality" means anymore! Our current definition is incorrect!

Typesetting, formatting, web-hosting, indexing... if the authors and funders of the paper are not willing to do these things well, the work is not worth publishing. Think about what it means for the people funding research to abandon responsibility for it to someone else. I keep either open license or white paper manuscript versions of as many of my papers as I can on my website - that website also has significant SEO and search indexing work put into it. I do that because my funders insist on it, because they believe in the value of the work. It is truly eye-opening when your funder actually values your work. NSF, DOE, DoD, and NIH all manage or fund repositories of all of the reports produced by their grants going back decades (most not available online because of lobbying by publishers). Sci-Hub has a limited lifetime until these various agencies finish their transition to publicly available hosting of all of their funded results.

So what are you providing, really? Prestige publishing is a marketing tool for your journal, not a value for science. Hosting and formatting is something that should be done by any competent scientific funder. It should worry all of us that it is necessary for you to do this. That leaves us with peer review and editing.

These are valuable additions to a paper, but these functions can also be accomplished differently. The most traditional approach for review, the face-to-face meeting with experts, is why you have the conference in the first place. People are paying you to take part in that process! Either the conference is not functioning as a place to seriously discuss research (maybe save those honoraria for good session moderators), or peer review of the conference papers is simply a hoop-jumping exercise.

Comment Re:Not a constitutional right (Score 1) 201

Discriminatory in this context has no negative connotation. It's responsible government.

There are many ways to provide equal treatment under the law. It is not always desirable or efficient to legislate and regulate for every possible situation. Instead of having a thick rule book, Vermont has a public committee who is responsible for permitting cable operators. Every operator, from small mom & pop shops to Comcast has to deal with the same government run committee, which the media and the public (should) have access to.

In a situation with quickly moving technology and in an industry with a history of misleading customers, this is a much better approach than simple rules making, where exploiting loopholes in enforcement or regulations can give an unfair advantage. Having a set of people involved helps the government enforce the letter as well as the spirit of the law on a permit-by-permit basis.

There are other industries policed this way. Construction, insurance, and medical research are a couple of examples.

Comment Is there anything else? (Score 1) 212

I don't think it's possible to be successful without being excellent in more than one field. There is always someone out there who knows a bit more than you, has better resources than you, or can work harder than you. The certain way you can distinguish yourself from competition is by being good at more than one thing.

I'm a PhD scientist many years removed now from school. I'm reminded daily that I have spent more time learning about business and biology than I spent on my Physics PhD. If becoming an expert takes ~5 years of focused work, you can become an expert in a lot of fields.

Comment Disconnect between science and reality (Score 3, Informative) 74

I am a scientist, and I work on chemical sensors.

Colorimetric sensor arrays are not new by any stretch of the imagination. There are several companies that make and sell them, many using "nanostructures" to boost something (usually the markup). We've been through food freshness, fruit ripeness, coffee roast detection, wine quality... Some of these are worth the $0.05 sensor and $1.00 labor required to package with the food, and some are not, but detecting these things is not a problem.

More and more, I'm seeing academic scientists demonstrate a lack of understanding of what real world problems and opportunities are. Someone in the academic grant backed research machine needs to have an eye on what's happened prior to recently published literature (and maybe look at what happens outside the literature too). 15 years seems to be the horizon of forgetfullness.

Comment Re:If open offices were really meant to facilitate (Score 4, Interesting) 271

That's exactly what we're trying to do at my company for exactly that reason.

I am a manager, and I need to talk to way too many people every day. I hate repeating the same conversation over and over. And I really hate when people feel like they're out of the loop because they didn't get a chance to be in on an important conversation. Still, we're a small company, need to move fast, and simply can't schedule absolutely everything that needs to happen.

The solution is that the management needs to be out in the open and accessible at most times. A couple conference rooms with doors are all we need; most conversations I have shouldn't be hidden.

I'm also the technical lead at my company. The folks I manage under no circumstances want to work the way I have to. They want solid blocks of time with no interruptions. I want them to have that too!

I'm also the founder of my company. That is why these things can happen here and why our business folks understand the value of the technical team's culture.

Comment Re:Television...Radio...Books... (Score 2) 330

When novels became popular and widely available in the 1800s, they were absolutely considered disruptive wastes of time.

Each of these things are different; it's not helpful to list the trivial differences. Smart phones are different than video games were different than TV is different than radio is different than comics were different than novels...

The author of TFA states that psychological trends in teens today haven't been seen since just after the Great Depression. She then notes that teens today came of age in the Great Recession. After letting that obvious connection go without discussion she turns to describe how smart phones have caused this.

It seems wrong to look at psychological trends that can be seen in other times of acute financial stress and not address the role of recent acute financial stress. She does question whether the link of depression to screen time is a cause or an effect: it's no known whether unhappy people use phones more or phone use leads to more unhappy people. It is clear that her data shows that teenagers who had smartphones, but entered high school before 2012, don't follow these psychological trends.

Comment misleading headline (Score 1) 66

Seed funding for new startups is down. No need to qualify for Silicon Valley. This isn't a geographically isolated problem, or a problem with a single field. It's a national pattern that is also present in biotech, hardware, services, etc.

This is very significant. Generally, small businesses growing into medium and large business drive the economic growth of the country and account for most of the new job creation. Last year, we were already at a 30 year low for population adjusted rates of small business creation (last time it was this bad was stagflation in the 70s).

Something is broken.

Comment Re:Then you are thread-jacking (Score 1) 112

Did you read the article? The author never uses the words "fake journal," but he talks a lot about peer review. Two of the journals that did a real peer review of his "paper" didn't reject it. Editors passing peer review comments through without reading them, and reviewers doing a (very) cursory read of the paper are not uncommon issues in scientific publishing in real journals.

Think for a minute about what "real" and "fake" mean when we're talking about journals. Two journals here got real reviews from scientists and didn't reject a clearly bad paper. That happens at real journals, even good journals. It's probably not what you think it is. Look at the editorial boards of some of these journals, go ahead and check to see if some of those professors list the journal affiliation on their CV. This is not a couple of scammers from outside of the scientific community.

I'm not saying "science" is fake; I am a scientist. Nor do I want MORE public mistrust of science. I'm saying the pressures that result in these fake journals getting scientists to work for them, submit papers, pay high fees, and put forth low quality work are also driving most real scientific journals, and absolutely impact what we chose to work on (get funded to work on). To ignore that is dangerous.

Comment Re:Fraudulent Journals, not Peer Review failing (Score 1) 112

Maybe you should read the article. The author is pretty clear that peer review practices are his focus here.

The author actually got back four reviews. Two reviewers didn't catch that this was a joke, two did. The editor who handled the two reviews that caught the joke passed them right back to the author with a request to revise. Those aren't dog's doing this, those are scientists.

You can call these journals "fake" or just acknowledge that low end journal editors and reviewers generally don't execute at a high level. In either case, these journals do have scientists working for them as editors and reviewers, but the expected outcomes don't align with what the process promises.

Comment Re:Completely false anti-science bullshit. (Score 4, Insightful) 112

The view that "peer review is bullshit" is a simplified version of a commonly held view among professional scientists (I am one). It is unfortunate that anti-science political forces also have this type of view, but "science" does have some serious problems, and many of us think that peer review as it is used now is largely to blame.

There is a strong argument that prestige publishing style peer review (i.e. Science and Nature) has been detrimental to scientific progress. The root of the argument is that peer review went wrong when the purpose went from trying to determine whether the research was right to whether it was prestigious enough to match the impact factor of the journal. This is a transition that happened relatively recently, only in the last 30 years or so. Unfortunately, most people in science have now locked their career advancement on to increasing their publication impact factor, so it is very difficult to change even when many agree that it's leading to distortion of data, hype, falsification, poor scientific discipline, encouraging predatory publishing practices (as here), etc... More importantly, for me, the idea that scientists should be optimizing research projects to gather citations is not well aligned with what we should be doing: answering fundamental scientific questions and improving the world.

If you dig in to some of what the author of this "sting" operation has written over the last 4 years, you'll see some of the arguments about this. The real discussion is much more nuanced and scientific than "peer review is bullshit," but that blunt approach is appropriate for Slashdot.

Comment complicated... (Score 5, Interesting) 95

The Hollywood Reporter has done a series of good articles on this... worth searching through what's been reported over the last year, it's amazing. There's a mysteriously killed Chinese billionaire, a Silicon Valley inventor giving away his IP because he thinks it's worthless (and it was worthless until the Oscar won by the guys using it), and a ton of extremely shady lawyers.

Both Perlman and LaSalle have been screwed over here, and they both deserve some of the blame for this. Neither one appears to have understood how to commercialize the technology. They were good friends, but they were not able to separate the ups and downs of friendship from their business relationship.

Comment Re:What a pompous ass (Score 1) 254

Is he making a concerted effort to reach outside of his bubble? Do you really feel like those words belong to this situation? Does this look like reaching out, really?

If you're bringing your bubble (and your rules) with you to visit where other people are, you're not making a real effort to get outside your bubble. That's exactly why he's being criticized here. The level of PR control over the interaction is the problem.

I love politics, and think more people should be involved. To do that well requires that you have real interactions with people. There are plenty of things he could do that would get him real life experience and serve a political purpose: Buy a farm and try to run it well. Be quirky maybe, and lead a fleet of electric bikes across the country. Hike the Appalachian trail. Join a search and rescue team... or just Rotary or Kiwanis. He's volunteered a bit around the Bay Area at Boy's and Girl's Club, I think, just go visit one of those in each state for a few days.

Roaming the country with a team of handlers is not helpful.

Comment work should be self-actualization (Score 1) 147

I'm pretty darned self-actualized at work. I have a very challenging and intellectually rewarding job (I'm a scientist with my own small business). I chose this after trying out a string of jobs that paid much better and came with more professional recognition, but didn't make me feel like I was actually useful. While at those other jobs I spent a lot of time on hobbies like gardening, cooking, and fiddling around with projects in my garage. I don't find I have the need or the desire to do that right now, because I don't need my social life to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

Choosing the correct career and job for yourself at the current particular moment is much more helpful than having the right hobbies. It makes balancing work and life easier (because social responsibilities are real) and is a must if you want to raise kids, work, and maintain your sanity simultaneously.

Comment Re:A bigger challenge than you may think (Score 1) 57

I wish this person had logged in to respond to my comment.

There is a difference between academic collaboration, that carries with it added resources and funding, and making a decision to change the tooling in your lab. When AFMs are standard in biology labs, then it's an acceptable biology tool. Right now, they're an acceptable tool for an engineer or physicist to use when helping a biologist. That's very good, but we're not all the way there.

Another way to look at this is that there are no collaborators for ELISA or western blot on the team. Those are standard tools. When the same is true of these new techniques, the culture will have been switched.

Also... The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology

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