What is it about?
I propose here three steps to help improve the way we make science. These are three relatively easy steps borne as a spin-off from reading a book by Taleb titled "Skin in the game: Hidden asymmetries in daily life" (published in 2018). At some point in the book, Taleb talks about resilient structures, about the rather disproportional power of minority movements, and about "putting one's soul in the game". Such constructs gave me ideas which could be useful for improving science (among other ideas already circulating out there). 'Resilient structures' call for finding a way of helping make science more resilient, especially in regards to content availability and quality control. There are already some systems in place (from open access to pre-print servers; and from Publons.com to Altmetric.com). One thing we now need is to find an effective solution to the indexing and curation of existing and future scientific information (although I recently was made aware of Peer.us... Is this platform the effective solution I was envisaging?) 'Minority movements' focus on the need for minority groups interested in improving scientific methodology to create tutorials that help speed up the understanding of, and flatten the learning curve of, such methodologies. Different tutorials will explain a method differently and for different levels of expertise, and 'market forces' may then help figure out the best tutorials for purpose. Finally, 'soul in the game' calls for a individual-driven (or group-driven) way of signalling the quality of a piece of research. In the same manner we can choose among Creative Commons licenses to release a given piece of work, we could also establish standards for quality-signalling (e.g., whether our methods follow a Fisher's statistical approach, or Mayo' severity testing, etc). As such release is individual-driven, commitment to a particular standard is voluntary. Yet the consequence of such signalling is not only descriptive of the intended quality but also open to be evaluated according to such standard (e.g., a peer-reviewer may reject a manuscript which is not consistent with the standard it claims to follow).
Photo by Kendal James on Unsplash
Why is it important?
We trust and rely on science to better our understanding and lives. And yet, science has become a 'business' subjected to performance measures and quantitative reports which bias the way we do science (e.g., increasing amount of idiosyncratic research outputs, breakdown of research projects into individual pieces for multiple publication, lack of value of peer-review for curriculum-building and tenure, poor methodological approaches, statistics wars among groups that keep to themselves, chasing statistical significance as the only argument for research success and for assessing the importance of results, etc.). Above three solutions aim to improve more structural aspects of Science as a system.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Three more steps toward better science, F1000Research, October 2018, Faculty of 1000, Ltd., DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.16358.1.
You can read the full text:
The following have contributed to this page