TED Conversations

Michael Moore

Disruptive Physician, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences


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When confronted with new ideas like the ones presented by Mina Bissell, how do we change our views in today's scientific establishment?

Today's scientific research is different than research of 100. 50, or even 20 years ago. The advances are generally more incremental, less understandable to non-scientists, and require an expensive research infrastructure. In addition, because of limited resources we often do not have the time or money to reconfirm results, resulting in less validated information being incorporated into our knowledge base. To me this is a similar situation that resulted in the scientific profession, the science journal, and the concept of peer review. Now, because of the explosion of science knowledge, and the idea that scientific knowledge can be proprietary, these structures/ideas are failing us...and revolutionary ideas like Mina Bissell's can pass us by because they are unrecognized.

Are we entering a new era where we need new models of how we validate knowledge? Do we just retain our trend to open information and hope the knowledge rises to the surface, or is there still a role for curation and peer review?

What are the kinds of skills that the "New Scientist" will need? Maybe just as important, what are the skills they will not need?


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    Jul 16 2012: I need clarification. Are you arguing that the traditional standards of requiring confirmation/validation of scientific results by those with expertise in the area before results are disseminated is holding the bar too high because it delay's our finding out about results that have not yet been verified? In what sense are rigorous standards of peer review and the requirement of replicable results failing us?
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      Jul 16 2012: Thanks Fritzie, you're right, I didn't give enough sub-text...in May I was lucky enough to go to the annual Council of Scientific Editors conference and one of the presentations was on how overwhelmed the peer review system is and how much current science data is fabricated and having to be retracted after publication. I think that we need peer review and curation, but I think our processes are being overwhelmed and failing us. Another presentation is on how little research is being performed to verify results, the model of replicable results is failing us because of the need to provide original results for funding and publication. So I would say the standard are not failing us, they are being overwhelmed.
      • Jul 17 2012: I was just wondering. When invesigating new topics control experiments are of a great importance and I think some sceitntist do controls just at the end depending on the kind of experiments they are running. I think a good thing could be that scientist working on similar topics have a platform to open discuss the kind of controls to run with an open mind and as I already said without the fear of having idea being stolen.

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