Proposal Open Access

Agora: A proposal to overcome the limitations of the current knowledge creation process

ScientistFive

Agora: A proposal to overcome the limitations of the current knowledge creation process
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By Scientistsfive
(scientistsfive@mailbox.org)

Abstract: The knowledge creation process is broken and can be improved by a combination of currently emerging tools.

The rationale for this proposal is the notion that the current scientific process is not optimal:

* Artificially staged competitions (grants, publications, theses):
1. ‘system gamers’ are supported, not real scientists
2. do require lots of otherwise wasted efforts
3. the selecting quality of committees and peers is questionable
4. the average mean is supported, not the outliers that are good for the advancement of science
5. wrong cultures emerged and continue to exist
6. creative monopolies are destroyed

* The publication and communication system is outdated:
1. only the tip of the iceberg of research projects is visible to the public
2. negative results are not being published
3. raw data is not being published
4. gate-keepers prevent access
5. results are being published late

* Incentives are wrongly set:
1. bringing up faked, but buzzy results counts
2. being honest does not count
3. revolutionisers and innovators are blocked
4. it does not pay risking novel approaches

* The patent system is broken:
patents are not used anymore to incentivise innovators to publish ideas and innovations (to patent - from latin: to lay open)
1. it is a self-sustaining effort and money generating system
2. is used by companies to fight
3. it is used to increase the entrance barrier for competitors

* It takes a very long time for innovators to be recognised and to be appreciated - and it might not pay

* A huge overhead of
administration exists
‘protective’ measures (animal, workforce, environment etc) grew that are self-sustaining and failing their initial noble aim

* The existence of intrinsically motivated scientists and the explorer nature of humans are ignored

————————————————————————————————————————————

Most scientists will agree on the above mentioned statements and wish for a change. Still many will argue, that this is a very negative interpretation of an obviously working knowledge creation process (‘we have been to the moon’). Digging too deep into this discussion, one ends up to ask what is best for humanity - the discussion will become very philosophical and cannot be finally solved, therefore - I will stick with the procedural impression that there is a better way to create new knowledge. And by doing so, I ll  be able to continue with this proposal:

Acknowledging the fact that a system change will need to set incentives immediately right and given the size of the required changes, only a ‘new kid on the block’ will be able to achieve such a megalithic aim. The name for this concept could be Agora - the marketplace in the greek cities - known as the birthplace of democracy.

To improve the knowledge creation process, the Agora system needs to achieve following goals:

1. Being decentralised, be ‘just there’, under self control, no single point of failure
2. Provide the right incentives
towards providing truth
towards being open
towards sharing
3. Support innovators and outliers
4. Support discourse, open-mindedness
5. Reduce unnecessary ‘overhead’ workload
6. Provide innovators with the freedom to do what they think is good and if it is good
7. incentives them strongly and early
8. Provide a neatless integration into the current system
9. Allow the support of basic science as well as applied sciences

Solution:

The solution Agora will consist of an ideal combination of tools that are currently emerging in different facets and different fields, the concepts are overlapping and names are not precise:

1. Blockchain decentralized databases (e.g. bitcoins)
2. Trust and value networks (e.g. Ripples, Ethereum)
3. Web 2.0 tools for scientists (social networks, open access publications, dynamic publications (e.g. GitHub), data repositories, wikis, blogs)
4. Cryptocurrencies
5. Cryptography (hashing, signing, etc.)
6. Future markets (betting)
7. Crowdfunding
8. Anonymous publications, multiple online identities, …
9. Whistle blowing platforms

 

 


Personal remarks:

* Past already told us many times that all big things looked a bit weird in their beginnings - future will tell. The problem is to find the right time point in the future to look back and to decide :)
* Obviously this proposal is lacking concrete implementation steps - but, lets appreciate its value: for the first time, these mentioned concepts were interpreted as a potential solution to faults in the knowledge creation process. Its implementation and defining ‘ideal’ is certainly a far road to march …
‘implementations of ideas’ should be honoured - but without ideas there is no implementation …
* We will continue to work on ideas for implementation and to publish this proposal in more accessible (and currently appreciated) ways and so on …
Furthermore, since this proposal is very vague it will not be used in the future to claim inventor ship of any real implementation of any of these tools. ‘Inventorship’ in the current sense so...

 

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