The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research

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A very pessimistic view on the state of research quality in the US, particularly in public health research. Some choice quotes:

My experiences at four research universities and as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research fellow taught me that the relentless pursuit of taxpayer funding has eliminated curiosity, basic competence, and scientific integrity in many fields.

Yet, more importantly, training in “science” is now tantamount to grant-writing and learning how to obtain funding. Organized skepticism, critical thinking, and methodological rigor, if present at all, are afterthoughts.

From 1970 to 2010, as taxpayer funding for public health research increased 700 percent, the number of retractions of biomedical research articles increased more than 900 percent, with most due to misconduct.

The widespread inability of publicly funded researchers to generate valid, reproducible findings is a testament to the failure of universities to properly train scientists and instill intellectual and methodologic rigor.

academic research is often “conducted for no other reason than to give physicians and researchers qualifications for promotion or tenure.” In other words, taxpayers fund studies that are conducted for non-scientific reasons such as career advancement

Incompetence in concert with a lack of accountability and political or personal agendas has grave consequences: *The Economist* stated that from 2000 to 2010, nearly 80,000 patients were involved in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted.

Still, there the author says there is hope for reform. The last three paragraphs suggest abolishing overheads, have limits on the number of grants received by and the maximum age of PIs, and preventing the use of public funding for publicity.