Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Are academic researchers headless chickens?

Phineas Gage is probably the most famous patient in neuroscience: Too bad most of what we say about him is false.

Inside Higher Ed
"Jean-François Gariépy, a former postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at Duke University, said in a Facebook post this week that he is leaving higher education behind because it doesn’t support the purer aims of science.
“By creating a highly competitive environment that relies on the selection of researchers based on their ‘scientific productivity,’ as it is referred to, we have populated the scientific community with what I like to call ‘chickens with no head,’ that is, researchers who can produce multiple scientific articles per year, none of which [have] any significant impact on our understanding of the world,” Gariépy wrote. “Because of this, science is moving forward similarly to how a headless chicken walks, with no perceivable goal.”
Gariépy says he’s not “bitter,” as some friends have wondered. Rather, he said, “The reality is that throughout the years, my attention has drifted away from research academia, because I found other ways to satisfy my scientific curiosity that seemed more appealing and more genuine to me.” 
He added, “Academia is a weird thing; it is populated with very intelligent, motivated and brilliant people, who are operating in a system that is simply defective to the point of impeding on the very ability of these individuals to engage in a true search for knowledge. In this sense, I am leaving research academia for the same reason that I joined it 12 years ago: in search for a better way to satisfy my hunger for a scientific understanding of the world.”"

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