Bad Research (2 messages) Albert Henderson 01 Aug 2002 22:23 UTC
on Thu, 1 Aug 2002 Dan Lester <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote [snip] > When Price described 'big science' in 1963, he wrote, > "if we know how many papers are published in a field, > we can compute the number of men who have written them." > [LITTLE SCIENCE BIG SCIENCE p. 63] I really don't think > that anything has changed since then. > > I'm glad you "don't think anything has changed" since then. Once > again, I'd like some citations that show that nothing has changed. If > all that Price said forty years ago is still valid, I'm sure that some > scholar would have revalidated it in the last decade, at least. If > nothing has changed in this field, it is probably the only field in > all of human knowledge that has NOT changed in the last forty years. We are not speaking of "all that Price said forty years ago." He revised his thinking, particularly on his projections that the growth of science must soon flatten out. It hasn't, of course. Some of the examples that he gave to support this idea were deeply flawed. We are only speaking of Lotka's 1926 law of scientific productivity [authorship] as developed by Price. Here are two citations, suggesting that the distribution of authorship has not changed: (1) A. Bookstein challenged Lotka's Law in considerable detail and found it to be solid. [JASIS. 41:376-386. 1990] (2) John C. Huber implied the law is alive and well when he used a new model to generate Lotka's law, fitting empirical distributions well. [JASIS. 53:209-219. 2002] ----------2 on Thu, 01 Aug 2002 Frieda Rosenberg <email@example.com> wrote. ....snip..... > > When Price described 'big science' in 1963, he wrote, > > "if we know how many papers are published in a field, > > we can compute the number of men who have written them." > > [LITTLE SCIENCE BIG SCIENCE p. 63] I really don't think > > that anything has changed since then. > > Can't find. Perhaps it was dropped from the posthumous 1986 edition? In the 1986 paperback, see page 44 in the para beginning "The modified law ..." > As to the below, another magic idea: Reduce price (most of which goes > "straight to profitability.") Then, magically, libraries will be able > to afford more journals. You must mean that by reducing the number of R&D projects, fewer papers would lead to reduced costs and lower journal prices. More important, if the emphasis of R&D were shifted into the preparation of research, executions would be of higher quality. There would be fewer papers and fewer errors, duplications, etc. Productivity in science depends on better (not less) inputs that reduce errors, omissions, and blind duplications. Where modern research management went wrong was in reducing financial inputs. That achieved mere financial productivity at the cost of quality. Yes. By all means. Get the researchers back into the libraries. Get some librarians to help them. Work smarter, not harder. If you are saying, 'No more bad research!' I agree. Best wishes, Albert Henderson Former Editor, PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY 1994-2000 <firstname.lastname@example.org> PS Most of journal pricing, by the way, goes to production and overhead, not to profit. You can see this clearly from the operating statements of any public publisher. .