Sunday, June 30, 2013

Edward Fullbrook — Doctor X, “pure shit” and the Royal Society’s motto

I then listened to an explanation of Doctor X’s predicament that went roughly like this.
One naturally feels loyalty to one’s immediate colleagues. The amount of funding Doctor X’s department receives depends not on how many papers or their quality its members publish, but instead on in which journals they are published. The journals in Doctor X’s field in which publication results in substantial funding will not publish “serious papers” but instead only “pure shit” papers, meaning ones that merely elaborate old theories that nearly everyone knows are false. Moreover, even to publish a “serious paper” in addition to the “pure shit” ones could taint the department’s reputation, resulting in a reduction of its funding. In any case, no one at a top university would read a “serious paper” because they only read “top journals.”...
When I asked if perhaps there were other privileged practitioners in the field who also found the situation lamentable and who if the institutional setup, meaning funding and promotion procedures, were changed, might have a go at writing “serious papers”, “Oh yes, loads!” replied Doctor X.
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Doctor X, “pure shit” and the Royal Society’s motto
Edward Fullbrook

Critical mass waiting to happen, but held in thrall by the power structure based on funding.

See also Michael Perelman, The Power of Economics vs. The Economics of Power:

That this discussion would not be possible in most North American venues brings us to another dimension of power. As an economist, I am sensitive to the fact that radical analysis has been virtually banned from the discipline. The systematic exclusion of economists, who might have any curiosity about matters of the exercise of power, is in itself, an inexcusable exercise of power.

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