Richard Hamming, a mathematician and scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory, Bell Labs, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, gave a talk, “You and Your Research,” at a Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar in 1986, a few years before he died, on the difference between the great scientists who make s..
Margaret Atherton (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) writes in asking about how philosophy professors and students can best take advantage of the funding their schools offer for undergraduate research programs. (more…)
In a post at Digressions & Impressions, Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam), discusses the influence of big money on academic research, with a focus on “displacement effects.”
The contestation of ideas is costly in time and effort. This matters because time and effort are scarce resources. All other things being equal, it follows that if some ideas X are being discussed/..
Back in Fall of 2014 we discussed reference management software and apps. Bibdesk and Zotero seemed to be the most popular options at the time. A reader has written in asking us to revisit the topic, noting that when it comes to information technology, a year and a half is a long time. What new options are out there? Have people’s preferences changed? Let us know. T..
On September 5th, 2011, Alexandra Elbakyan, a researcher from Kazakhstan, created Sci-Hub, a website that bypasses journal paywalls, illegally providing access to nearly every scientific paper ever published immediately to anyone who wants it. The website works in two stages, firstly by attempting to..
Retraction Watch is profiled in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education (currently paywalled). The site keeps track of retractions in scientific research, with an emphasis on retractions owed to scientific misconduct.
Its founders, a pair of veteran science writers, were not just interested in big-ticket fraud cases; they were determined to apply scrutiny to scient..
The Campaign for Better Citation and Credit-Giving Practices is a new site aimed at “providing a forum for individuals in academic philosophy to bring to light general instances of work not receiving due credit or citations.” It offers a forum in which to “(A) argue that particular works or authors have been unfairly neglected (i.e. not adequately cited or otherwise..
Global Colleagues is a one-to-one, academic, multidisciplinary partnership program between scholars in the Global North and South working on issues related to poverty. The first cohort of partnerships began this past May, and the project manager, Robert Lepenies (European University Institute), informs me that there is a “high proportion of philosophers among the pa..
Popular essays, fictions, aphorisms, dialogues, autobiographical reflections and personal letters have historically played a central role in philosophy. So also have public acts of direct confrontation with the structures of one’s society: Socrates’ trial and acceptance of the hemlock; Confucius’ inspiring personal correctness. It was really only with the generation..
A graduate student in philosophy asks:
I really enjoyed the daily habits of routine research post. I am wondering if you could open up a new discussion that addresses the related issues with regards to philosophers who use English as their second language. In my own experiences, doing research in a non-native language often comes with unique challenges that call ..
Suppose you were reviewing a scientific report that drew the conclusion that a diet without fat was in fact unhealthy, and that butter and cream and even bacon in moderation were good for you, and suppose further that the science was impeccable, carefully conducted and rigorously argued. Good news! Yes, but the author acknowledges in fine print that the research was..
This summer has seen a series of guest posts by Elijah Millgram (Utah) on his new book, The Great Endarkenment: Philosophy for an Age of Hyperspecialization. One theme of the book is that there has been a steep increase in specialization that in some ways threatens knowledge. In the following post*, Millgram starts an exchange with Jerome Ravetz, author of Scientif..
In previous posts (here, here, and here) I have expressed some skepticism about the idea that academic liberty is on the decline. Yes, there are occasional stories of violations of academic liberty; Steven Salaita, whose job offer was rescinded, comes to mind. But we have to be careful here. A (defeasible) rule of thumb is that if you are hearing a lot about an even..
Alexander Dietz, a graduate student at the University of Southern California, has been working on a project called Philosophy Summaries. It features “hierarchical summaries” of philosophy texts with an interface that allows you to drill down into the summaries of each section. Here’s how he describes it:
Philosophy books are usually divided into chapters, which a..
There are many little everyday steps leading up to the production of a philosophical manuscript. Charles Rathkopf (CUNY) writes in asking philosophers about “the daily habits of routine research.”
Do they take notes on paper, then transfer to a computer? Does anyone still try to write anything substantial with pen and paper? What bibliographic system is best? Do ..
Academic philosophers in Anglophone Ph.D.-granting departments tend to have a narrow conception of what counts as valuable philosophical work. Hiring, tenure, promotion, and prestige turn mainly on one’s ability to write an essay in a particular theoretical, abstract style, normally in reaction to the work of a small group of canonical historical and 20th century fi..
The following guest post* is by Marcus Arvan (Tampa). Marcus runs The Philosophers’ Cocoon, a helpful blog aimed at early-career philosophers. Last week saw the posting of a report on philosophers’ citation practices by Kieran Healy. Marcus has written on this topic a few times over the years at The Philosophers’ Cocoon (the latest is here), and so I asked him if he..
In an essay at Aeon, Huw Price (Cambridge) writes about “reputation traps.”
His example of this is scientific research on cold fusion, or low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), “the controversial idea that nuclear reactions similar to those in the Sun could, under certain conditions, also occur close to room temperature.” Cold fusion held out the promise of clean an..