Cut Government Funding of Scientific Research

The Wall Street Journal cries alarum: “Flood of Fake Science Forces Multiple Journal Closures.”

Dozens of scientific journals have become paper mills—homes for rings of pseudo-academics to cite one another, review another, and puff up their publications with bogus research to secure the rewards of academic employment.

After it bought its Egyptian rival Hindawi, academic publisher Wiley shut down large numbers of Hindawi journals, which had become egregious malefactors. Scientists now use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to detect fraudulent research papers—but it’s an arms race, with the fraudsters’ AI in a duel with the fraud-Javerts’ AI.

Professors have to use Turnitin and similar services to detect plagiarism and AI use by their students; they also have to use more sophisticated programs to detect when their peers are up to no good.

The Wall Street Journal makes it seem that this is mainly a Third World problem: “Researchers say they have found them [paper mills] in multiple countries including Russia, Iran, Latvia, China and India.” American researchers have their own problems, including massive amounts of irreproducible research, but the paper mill fakery seems distinctive.

Western researchers may, as a rule of thumb, simply ignore all Third-World research by scientists they don’t personally know. But only an optimist would think that American science will remain immune to such trends—particularly when a good majority of American graduate students in the hard sciences hail from abroad.

American scientific culture is becoming the scientific culture of China and India.

Proposed technical solutions abound,but all assume that the science cops can get the jump on the science criminals, and that somehow science can function when no scientist can trust another. These technical solutions should be pursued. But the ultimate solution is simply to stop government funding of scientific research for ten or twenty years and hire science professors solely for their ability to teach.

Cut off the money for long enough, and the only people doing science will be those who actually care about it for its own sake.It would be nice if a milder fix would work, but the incentives for science parasites are deep-rooted. Nothing less may be enough.

Image by Natasha — Adobe Stock — Asset ID#: 511869187


One thought on “Cut Government Funding of Scientific Research”

  1. “But the ultimate solution is simply to stop government funding of scientific research for ten or twenty years and hire science professors solely for their ability to teach.”

    The latter is what we are SUPPOSED TO be doing in the first place — parents are not paying for professors to publish incomprehensible articles that no one else will ever read, regardless of if the underlying science is legit or not. Parents are paying for their children to be taught.

    The ideal solution is for the Federal Government to create something similar to ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) which has existed in some format for over 50 years — it was microfiche in the 1980s and a bit more advanced now — see

    The ideal solution would be for each scientist to put his own research on his own website (which is already starting to happen) but with the Federal Government providing a common linkage, maybe even providing hosting.

    Then Dr. Alpha can post something, Dr. Bravo can say the research can’t be duplicated, Dr. Charlie can say “well, *I* could duplicate it” and then perhaps Dr. Charlie noticing that Dr. Bravo used ounces rather than grams. Yes, peer review in real time, which the web is ideal for — but which would put some rather profitable journal publishers out of business.

    The big issue is the CV — I can have an article published in the Journal of Underwater Basketweaving which sounds impressive, or I could have an article on my own website which a half dozen other scientists have considered worthwhile enough to link to their own websites, which a hiring committee currently has no way of knowing.

    Shepard’s Citations are legal research books which enable one to know if a case has been overturned, reaffirmed, questioned, or cited by later cases — it’s a way to determine the relevance of a case which one is citing. Something similar here would be helpful, and more than just the number of times the research is cited, the number of professors who put it on their own websites as a resource to their students is significant.

    And we could, theoretically, get to the point where professor’s websites replace textbooks — where an intrepid faculty member could either post his own work and/or that of others (properly accredited) and the text of the course.

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