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Vox is a site that says its role is to “explain the news,” an attempt to make a virtue of necessity (it doesn’t hire enough reporters, so it has to wait for others to find news and then swoop in to claim a piece). Happily, its swooping is often quite good – its template of “X winners and Y losers from (recent news event)” sounds clickbait-ish but is usually quite insightful. And sometimes it finds it own news in unusual ways.

An example of the latter which is of interest to Granite Geek is a long, detailed examination of problems in the operation of modern science – not the research findings but the invisible stuff like funding, publication processes and career incentives, all of which have to work before the research findings come along. The article is based on survey responses from 270 scientists in various fields (including mathematics; they got a Fields Medalist!) and includes a number of proposed solutions. Here’s a really interesting one:

Some of our respondents suggested that scientists engage in replication prior to publication. “Before you put an exploratory idea out in the literature and have people take the time to read it, you owe it to the field to try to replicate your own findings,” says John Sakaluk, a social psychologist at the University of Victoria. For example, he has argued, psychologists could conduct small experiments with a handful of participants to form ideas and generate hypotheses. But they would then need to conduct bigger experiments, with more participants, to replicate and confirm those hypotheses before releasing them into the world. “In doing so,” Sakaluk says, “the rest of us can have more confidence that this is something we might want to [incorporate] into our own research.”

The whole article is worth reading: It’s right here.

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