Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sat Jan 13 10:36:07 EST 1996

Extending 'devil's advocacy' to your commenets. 
(please see few more points below) - Alex

On Sat, 13 Jan 1996 U27111 at UICVM.CC.UIC.EDU wrote:

> berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA (Alexander Berezin) wrote on 12 Jan
> 1996 11:46:24 -0800:
> >That's what I am saying. Its pointless to attempt to
> >change the nature of people - it will remain the same
> >regardless. But you can modify practices in a given
> >field in such a way that miscounducting behaviour will
> >not bring the actor too much the avantage. In the above
> >example people tried to publish in Nature because
> >the present (arbitrary, fictional) reward system
> >gives a great premium to anything that published in
> >Nature (as opposed to elsewhere).
> >As I said before, I see it as a sheer stupidity
> >and anachronism (though deeply ingranted by
> >historical reasons). For me it makes no difference
> >at what paper (or by what publisher) my (or your)
> >article is published for as long it is published and
> >the community can find about its existence (say, thru
> >abstract services) and all who are interested can
> >obtain a copy of the full text.
> [playing at devil's advocate... asking the types of questions a
> typical Joe Lab would?]
> But then by what standards due we judge excellence in our
> community?
> Do we have to pour over countless papers looking for high caliber
> work... instead of supposedly having it available in a hand full of
> 'prestigious' journals?

Question to the above statement:

How strong is the EVIDENCE that for, say,
last 20 - 30 years a lot of 'really importanat'
developments came from articles published
in Nature or Science. (and those which were
in obscure places all were 'unimportant').
How strong is this correlation IN REAL 
(again, what are the FACTS, not wishy-washy).

In physics this is hardly a case and, yes,
we 'have to pour over countless papers looking
for high caliber work ... '.

The work on chaos by Micheal Feigenbaum I mentioned
earlier was first published in an obscure regional
bulletin availble in only a few libraries. This is
life in science - make it easy and handy and
you loose it.

Roentgen studied gas discharge - discovered X-rays.

Becquerel studied salt's luminescence - discovered

Present researchers are for the most only pretend that 
want to crack the 'secrets of nature'. In fact, what they 
in ovevwhelming majority do are collecting 'data'. (often, 
but, of course not always, data are fraudulent, tossed
or overwise corrupted). The type of data needed for the game 
is such that they (the data) can be conveniently packed
as 'original research papers' to be approved by same-breed 
'peer reviewers' (round robin principle) - to be published 
in 'preseguous journals' - to be used in funding spiral - to 
be cloned again, etc, etc , ...

(we certaily discussed this story 100 times over).

> By track record? ...In biomedical research that could take years.
> And how would I know if something was worth calling my broker about
> if Science or Nature wasn't there to tell us which ones are
> 'mainstream' and *hot topics* - with full text to back it up?

Don't bother to call brocker - random darts to select stocks
consistently overperform all 'market experts'. This experiment
goes on at Toronto Stock Exchange for few years. There is
even a book on this topic, if I recall correctly the
title is 'Radmon Walk on Wall Street" (can't quite recall the 
author, something like Merkel).

Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
Department of Engineering Physics
McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546

> Just some thoughts,
> -Kathy

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