big problems facing science

Julia Belluz, Brad Plumer, and Brian Resnick have co-authored a beautifully articulate article on the 7 biggest problems facing science:

  1. Academia has a huge money problem
  2. Too many studies are poorly designed
  3. Replicating results is crucial — and rare
  4. Peer review is broken
  5. Too much science is locked behind paywalls
  6. Science is poorly communicated
  7. Life as a young academic is incredibly stressful

Many of these problems are not new; I witnesssed many of them a quarter-century ago as a graduate student in chemistry at Berkeley. In addition, I recall my beloved undergraduate research advisor at Cornell longing for the time when NSF took a more generous view towards long-term, speculative projects. Nevertheless, I would agree that these problems in science are even more severe than ever.

Throughout my career, I have purposefully worked “off the grid”, only taking jobs that have not required me to publish papers or pursue research grants. While it has not always been ideal to live at the margins, overall I’ve had a fulfilling career.

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