Bora Zivkovic
Eliminate peer-review of baseline grants entirely? -
I have the PDF of the paper.... - Bora Zivkovic
check out this comment, read it carefully - I want the discussion to emanate from here: - Bora Zivkovic
[1/3]"science types... obviously are not motivated by mere monetary rewards" -- no, they're mostly driven by oversized egos -- "they pass through a long and arduous apprenticeship that culminates in a PhD. By then they should have soaked up the scientific ethos thoroughly" -- yes they have, the modern ethos which says that certain misconduct is normal and that FFP misconduct is OK as long as you don't get caught. - Bill Hooker
[2/3]Which is just to say that scientists are a scummy bunch of shit-flinging self-interested apes, just like every other human demographic. We (in the extended tribe of science) think they *ought* to be better, so we play ostrich like Marko when we see that they're not. - Bill Hooker
[3/3]Which is NOT to say that the argument about baseline grants is wrong, just some of Marko's reasoning. Much of the problem with the existing system seems to me to lie in the reward structure, which tends to punish careful, ethical or creative work and reward reasonably careful liars and cheats. Perhaps the proposed system would eliminate some of that pressure-in-the-wrong-directions and result in better behaviour. - Bill Hooker
Didn't I write this post a few weeks back? Mind you, Bora would be justified in filtering me through someone else ;-) In the context of the recent policy changes from EPSRC in the UK this is horrifying but not unexpected - Cameron Neylon
The authors are happy to send out reprints if anyone wants one - also recommending that people re-do the analysis for different places which I agree is very worthwhile. - Cameron Neylon
@3/3 Bill - yes, I think there would be a feedback loop there - this system would encourage people to just think of cool stuff and do it, abandoning the semi-honest methods of getting money and promotions, at least at that early stage of research. Optimistic? Dunno, but I was also in a place (and in a field) in which people did do wacky and cool stuff and did not care much about Nobels and multimillion grants and Nature papers - doing science for fun. A lot of scientists still do. - Bora Zivkovic
There are risks in just handiing over the money. I did my PhD in a place with core block grants and there was a lot of dead wood and wasted resource there. Also every now and then moments of genius and decades of hard work resulting in huge payoffs. Its a balance. We need mechanisms to try and get the balance right but those mechanisms need an evidence base to work on. And we don't have one. - Cameron Neylon
I think a lot of the comments on your blog post miss the point. I don't think anyone is proposing doing away with *any* sort of review. - Kevin Gamble
Correct - the paper is a really cool, thought-provoking read. It is also now on the Homepage of - Bora Zivkovic
good - some good new comments on my blog post (yesterday's post, not last week's). - Bora Zivkovic
From the second link there: "if everyone who asked for money got money, how do you handle stagnant researchers? Who decides to take the money away?" -- very good question, perhaps some periodical review ("what have you done with your baseline money in the last five years?")? - Bill Hooker
I understand, from the paper, that the grant is annual and requires a kind of a 'progress report' to renew. - Bora Zivkovic
See, what Bora was too nice to say to me there was, READ THE FUCKING PAPER ALREADY!!! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU ASSHOLES TO READ THE FUCKING PAPER!!! Ahem. And, he's right. I'll rtfp before I have any more to say. :-) - Bill Hooker