There is a quota of papers required of all academics. These works may be good or bad, right or wrong, useful or harmful, penetrating or indifference, but regardless they must be written. Academics must write even when they don’t wish to, when they have nothing to say, when it would have been better had they remained quiet.But it's published and so Science! And please remember that it is Dr. van Gelder, and so there.
It is this absurd requirement which produces bad works of the second kind. (It has many other harmful effects, notably boosting the egos of the academics, but we can examine these another day.)
Example? How about “Vividness of the Future Self Predicts Delinquency”? A peer-reviewed work in Psychological Science by Jean-Louis van Gelder and others. Van Gelder opens the paper with these words:
The tendency to live in the here and now, and the failure to think through the delayed consequences of behavior, is one of the strongest individual-level correlates of delinquency.This is our X, which everybody whose powers of reason are not stunted—as they are in, say, infants and those who have received overdoses of NPR—already knew. There was no reason in the world, save saving van Gelder’s job, that we had to be told this again, as if it were new or in doubt.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Where crummy science comes from
It's about the career imperative for scientists to publish or perish: