The journal of citizen science

After reading about the likely relaunch of “Patterns Recognition in Physics” on Jo Nova (which I thoroughly endorse) I was reminded that there is a glaring hole in the list of journals, which is stopping many good papers from getting published, not because they are not first class, but because there is a “Not Invented Here” attitude in much of academia which unfortunately has resulted in much work from non-academics being sidelined, ignored and only ever seeing the light of day on blogs.

Many have tried to get work published, many have failed or just given up because as the episode of Patterns Recognition in Physics shows, even academics can’t get certain science published if it falls foul of the “Not Wanted Here” attitude of many academics.

I do not think the solution is to continue flogging the dead horse and try to get non-academic work into academic journals, instead I think the solution is to take the bull by the horns and do a better job ourselves.

So, I’m floating the idea of a new journal which can be seen in embryonic form at:

TheCitizenScientist.org

If we go ahead we will need reviewers and articles. There are so many excellent articles already on-line which would only need tidying up and reformatting to a more “formal” style (e.g. references). Reviewers could be a bigger problem – any volunteers?

That’s the basic idea.

What do you think? Is it worth trying and if so, can you suggest articles that should go in?

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29 Responses to The journal of citizen science

  1. jon leach says:

    isn’t that already up and running and called Wikipedia (sorry, if this is waving a red rag at your bull, but they have evolved a system of reviewers)

    or else it’s just another blog?

    • wikipedia does not allow “original research” … in practice that means that any academic who wants “original research” in wikipedia just writes a paper, sends it to their chums at their journal, publishes it then there’s damn near nothing anyone can do about it.

      • jon leach says:

        Interesting description of something that does look a bit dodgy. Do you have a full example i could look at (i.e. the paper in the journal, the list of those who reviewed it, the links that show they are chums of the author, and then the wikipedia elements that links to it). I guess I am trying to distinguish between “urban myth” and “caught re-handed”, to give the extremes on what might be happening… Can you show me someone caught in the act, as you describe?

        • I haven’t contributed to Wikipedia for years. But it was obvious what was going on. If some paper would come up supporting the sceptics. By magic, the editors would know about an “upcoming paper” which would “disprove” it.

          In other words the editors were the people writing the paper and no doubt the people reviewing. They thought they were being clever

          • So, as JL and I have both asked, do you actually have any examples?

            Its clear from what you’ve written that you certainly don’t know for sure – you’re just guessing – but even so an example to judge by would be helpful.

          • Why would I want to waste my time finding examples?

            I don’t have to persuade you – and I don’t have to persuade anyone else.

            Do you still think that politicians who spend all their time making up this kind of propaganda – who constantly get lobbied all kinds of academics with all their “facts” – don’t know instantly when they looked at the work of a bunch of amateurs exactly what had been going on?

          • > Why would I want to waste my time finding examples?

            You’d want to *spend* your time finding an example because you made an assertion, and you’ve been challenged, so you need to back up your words with facts. That’s how sensible discourse works. I’m hoping you’re not interested in the kind of discourse where people just mouth off saying the first thing that comes into their heads, and when challenged are free to respond “good heavens, no, of course I’m not even going to attempt to back that up”.

            I’ve no idea what your third paragraph means. Why have politicians suddenly come into this?

          • As I’ve said before, if you want me to waste my time being your errand boy then you will have to pay me. If you are willing to pay, then sure let’s discuss how much you are willing to give for me to go get the evidence?

            But you know you aren’t interested.

          • > being your errand boy

            Look, this is basic stuff: if you make an assertion, and you are challenged, then you back it up; or you confess that you were just mouthing off and you withdraw the assertion.

            You don’t say “oh no, you’ll have to pay me to back up my assertion”.

            At least, you don’t say that unless you want to look like a joke.

          • Katabasis says:

            Two links for the Stoat who apparently can’t use Google:

            http://bit.ly/1ig577Q

            http://techdebug.com/blog/2008/04/19/wikipedia-article-creates-circular-references/

            Using my spider senses I predict that Stoat will summarily ignore the above and claim something along the lines of ‘b-b-but that isn’t an example of what I was looking for’.

            [SS: I removed part of the personal attack]

          • > wikipedia-article-creates-circular-references/

            You’re wrong. I won’t ignore your link, but I will tell you that it isn’t an example of what we’re talking about. Perhaps you could try reading the conversation?

            If I’m wrong, and it is indeed an example of what our host was talking about, then I’ve no doubt that he will say so himself.

      • I think you made that up, no? Can you point to a single example of this occurring, either for certain or that you suspect?

        You are however entirely correct that wiki doesn’t allow OR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:OR if you want the details.

        • jon leach says:

          Thanks Katabis for the new knowledge and the example. I hadn’t seen that. Two things though

          1. This is an example of a “wiki-newspaper- wiki” loop. SS was referencing a “wiki-dodgy science paper- wiki” loop. So i get the principle, but like William i don’t think you’ve show an example of what our host is talking about (and can’t/won’t supply himself). Can you help here?
          2. The incident from 2008 could also be taken as an example of “the self-repairing nature of Wikipedia”. If i have read it right the “playful vandalism” only survived a few months. Not ideal but it doesn’t prove that Wikipedia is intrinsically flawed (at least to me).

          So do you, or any other readers (or come on SS, dredge your memories man!) have examples where
          a) a circular reference was set up and survived many years (on any topic)
          b) (or ideally) a specific “wiki-dodgy science paper- wiki” scam on AGW etc. has persisted and (presumably) is contested to this day.

          I think the latter is our hosts claim and being a (southern) sceptic who does’t trust the experts on “not trusting experts” (forgive me) i’d like to see the proof myself (for all our sakes)

  2. > the likely relaunch of “Patterns Recognition in Physics”

    It isn’t likely; Monckton is just mouthing off. Don’t believe me? Great! Lets bet on it. How much money are you prepared to put where your mouth is?

    > Reviewers

    I think you’d need to get a sample paper for inclusion to see the kind of think you have in mind before you could get any credible reviewers on board.

    > There are so many excellent articles already on-line

    Sounds like you have some ideas. Why not post links to 1, 2 or 3 so you could garner comments?

    (Actually I think the entire idea is completely doomed for all the obvious reasons, but I’m trying to be positive).

  3. > It isn’t likely; Monckton is just mouthing off.

    And that was before I read the somewhat breathless http://joannenova.com.au/2014/01/pattern-recognition-journal-to-be-relaunched/

    Get in quick; bets close off if a relaunch actually happens :-). Naturally, M just tossing a few posts onto a website doesn’t count: we’d have to argue the fine details, but him getting a reputable publishing house signed up, as he appears to promise, would do.

  4. Katabasis says:

    Mike, do you have contact details anywhere on the site?

  5. William Connolley

    being your errand boy

    Look, this is basic stuff: if you make an assertion, and you are challenged, then you back it up; or you confess that you were just mouthing off and you withdraw the assertion

    I’ve given you the benefit of my knowledge for free. But like all free offers … you get a limited service for free, and if you want the detailed service then you will have to pay.

    I think that’s a very fair offer.

    • I can see the conversation at your new journal now:

      Author: [submits a paper full of dodgy stuff]
      Reviewer: I say, some of this stuff seems a touch unsupported. Can you provide references to demonstrate the following points…?
      Author: What! You want me to do your legwork for free? Be off with you,peasant!
      Reviewer: [leaves for saner pastures]
      Journal_reputation: [slinks around the corner and hides, ashamed to show its face.]

      • William Connolley takes his car to get an MOT.
        Tester: “your brakes need replacing”.
        Mr Connelly: “That’s just your assertion”
        Tester: “Yes!”
        Mr Connelly: “You’ve been challenged, so you need to back up your words with facts. That’s how sensible discourse works. I’m hoping you’re not interested in the kind of discourse where people just mouth off saying the first thing that comes into their heads, and when challenged are free to respond “good heavens, no, of course I’m not even going to attempt to back that up”.”
        Tester: “Next customer”

        • In real life:

          Tester: Here are your brake pads, look how low they are, and your disc is worn too, see? Oh, and see all the fluid peeing out the caliper? That’s why they need replacing.

          In your world:

          “Scottish Sceptic”: your brakes need replacing
          Mr Connelly: Prove it
          “Scottish Sceptic”: No, you’ll have to pay me first.

          • Scottish sceptic: “hi I saw your brakes are leaking, you really need to get them seen to otherwise you’ll have an accident”.

            “Kit carruthers” .. “prove it”.

            Scottish Sceptic: “I was only trying to help”.

            “Kit carruthers” .. “prove it”.

    • catweazle666 says:

      Leave ‘im, Mike.

      ‘Ee ain’t worf it!

      • What they dislike, is the fact that we can do it and what it says is that there is nothing special about an academic journal.

        It’s the same with kids. Kids will totally ignore toys and chuck them away … until they find their sibling has got one or wants the one they’ve got and suddenly no other toy in the toy box is as important.

  6. I’ve given you the benefit of my knowledge for free. But like all free offers … you get a limited service for free, and if you want the detailed service then you will have to pay.

    Right. A few posts back, when you were outlining your vision for “citizen science”, you were very clear that “citizen scientists” be honest and open, credible, and respected (or something like that). Looks like you’re off to a good start, eh? :-/

    • For something which is only an idea you are getting very upset about it.

      I think you should put this in perspective. If it went ahead, it would only be of interest to other citizen scientists, it would only be one journal.

      I can’t see it being any threat at all. So, I’m not sure what the fuss is about :)

      • jon leach says:

        Could you help out on your sceptical view on Wikipedia?..Could you try to recall any of the names of the papers or wiki page titles or even editors (not William; i’ve seen his own Wiki page!) so I can check?

        You seem to be sceptical about the “expertise” at Wikipedia and – fair enough – you don’t want to “do work” for William to prove it. But could you trawl your memory and send me some search terms for Google for any noteworthy incidents and i will do the work for you?

        • Honestly no, because I stopped editing wikipedia a long time ago.

          There were several instances where an argument broke out about a paper. I read the discussion and it was very obvious that the editors were very knowledgeable about which papers were coming out and what they would say. They even boasted about it. But the final straw was one who – knew about it at such an early stage that they had to either be the author or know them personally.

          But why all the fuss?

          The first thing any student gets told is “don’t trust wikipedia”. The second is: “look for a opposing views”. OK, a few third rate students will have copy and pasted the stuff from wikipedia, but their low marks mean they will never amount to much. The brighter students would know the kind of environmental zealots who try to push this or that fad and know the tricks they pull and when they found the sceptic sites they worked out what was going on.

          It might have been irritating at the time but not now.

  7. Pingback: Science – Stoat

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