Papers criticized in comments have high scientific impact:

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    This following paper reminds me of some past interactions and pretentious criticisms and claims by some here....

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1209.4997.pdf

    In science “there is no bad publicity”: Papers criticized in comments have high scientific impact

    I. INTRODUCTION In 1543, Nikolaus Copernicus proposed a heliocentric model that will have revolutionized the human view of the universe [1]. The paradigm shift proposed by the new ideas of Copernicus caused an unavoidable controversy in the scientific community of his era, still anchored to the geocentrism. The dispute involved some of the brightest brains of the period –including Galilei, Kepler and Netwon– and lasted for more than two centuries before the complete acceptance of the heliocentric model for the the description of the solar system. The controversy behind the Copernican revolution is just one of the most popular examples of scientific controversies that are part of the history of science. Other well known examples are the controversy which followed the publication of the theory of evolution by Darwin [2], the Bohr-Einstein debate about the fundamentals of quantum mechanics [3], and the dispute originated by Wegener with his theory of continental drift [4]. In the course of the history of science, however, not all scientific disputes have been resolved in favor of the original idea that caused the controversy: the observation of N-rays [5], the theory of cold fusion [6] and the finding of water memory [7, 8] are all examples of theories or experimental results, associated to fervent scientific controversies, that have been at the end rejected or disregarded by the scientific community. Either resolving in favor or against the scientific findings that originated the disputes, scientific controversies are thought to be necessary for scientific progress [9, 10]. Even if not all the greatest achievements in science have passed through a dispute, as for example the unification of electricity and magnetism by Maxwell, many major steps in science have been controversial. Revolutionary changes are per se controversial because they reverse previous scientific paradigms, and thus necessarily encounter some resistance before getting accepted. Scientific disputes, however, are not only associated to revolutionary discoveries, but they are also part of the process of scientific production: science is, in fact, simultaneously a cooperative and antagonistic enterprise, where scientists both collaborate, with the interchange of information, and compete, through the exchange of criticisms. While the structure of collaboration networks [11] and the importance of teams for the creation of scientific knowledge [12, 13] have been empirically analyzed, no much is quantitatively known about scientific disputes. Scientific controversies are usually studied in philosophy of science, but only through the analysis of popular case examples and never in quantitative terms [9, 10]. Here for the first time, we provide a quantitative and large-scale study of scientific controversies. We focus our attention on modern scientific disputes identifiable with the publication of formal comments. We systematically study the difference between the citations accumulated by commented and non commented papers, and show that comments can be statistically interpreted as early signs of the future impact of criticized papers.
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    As I'm in an awful habit of saying, it's easy for arm chair would be's if they could be's, to criticise any paper they wish from the comfort of their Living room in front of a computer screen, on a forum open to any Tom, Dick and Harry as distinct of course for those that are out there at the coal face. Interesting paper methinks.
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    On the contrary, this paper is highlighting the value to science of criticism.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    You fail to understand. I'm saying that the sometimes unprofessional "criticism" that some professional papers get on forums open to all and sundry, counts for fuck all in the greater scheme of things...and even in the smallest scheme/s

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    In other words its those at the coal face, out there among the professionals whose professional criticism will prove of value. You put too much importance in forums such as this, made chiefly for "discussions" The obvious amateurish agendas that some hold make these forum criticisms worthless in the greater scheme of things.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well that is obvious. Nobody would imagine that comments on a web forum are going to influence the course of science. I very much doubt that is why anybody comes here.

    But, as your link makes clear, the very process of science involves criticism. So criticism is a good thing in principle. And the process of civilised debate of ideas involves criticism, too. If nobody made any challenge or criticism of ideas put forth on the forum, there would be little discussion.

    There most certainly are plenty of papers nowadays that are not very good and deserve challenge. After all, if they were all excellent there would be no need for the critical process that your link explains is so important!

    So people here are not only entitled, but should be encouraged, to criticise papers. It is by criticism - and others countering the criticism constructively - that we all learn what is really happening in science and can tease out what is valuable from what is suspect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Some are actually under the illusion that they will influence the course of science...How many have we had claiming GR is wrong? And that's only a start.
    Certainly, that's part of the scientific method. But just as certainly is the fact that those under any illusion that they are going to invalidate any incumbent theory on this or any other forum, will as far as I'm concerned be told as clearly as possible. Problem is that it is sometimes hard to be civil with these sorts as you well know.
    And plenty that are excellent yet still benefiting from proper professional criticism based on content alone and nothing else. That though does not happen here to often.
    I'm sure you'll have a lot to learn next time river or timojin makes one of their momentous ground breaking claims. For my part while being a lay person, I can still sort the wheat from the chaff.
     
  9. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    I would take the wheat and the chaff if I could seperate it from the Cowpat

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  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I don't see river's posts. Or MR's. Timojin is a Jekyll and Hyde case, I find. He does in fact start off some quite interesting threads once in a while, for example the Hormuz one. (I now know, courtesy of his question and Hipparchia's research, why the Straits of Hormuz are as they are. It's not an erosion effect, it's a tectonic one.)
     
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    It's a general comment as you well know answering your question.
    And I now know that with regards to the "Straits of Hormuz"question, that indeed there are many scenarios as to why a flood did take place, and of course the beginnings of adding mythical additions to that scenario. But you are now off topic.
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    No, I am giving you a single, brief example, to illustrate my thesis that Timojin can, contrary to what you might think, make useful contributions from time to time, that's all.
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Again, mine was a general comment.
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Never say never. You can't predict what might sow a seed for the next scientific breakthrough.

    It is also not correct to say that you need to be a working researcher in the particular field to be able to criticise the content or methodology of a scientific paper. Skills in analysis and criticism can be cross-disciplinary and transferable among different areas of expertise. Moreover, people in closely-related fields are often quite capable of analysing specialist content from a near-enough field to their own.

    Also you can say is that there is a higher a priori likelihood of that, all things being equal. On the other hand, consider something like the Alan Sokal "hoax", which exposed the fatuousness of some of what was then accepted as postmodern analysis.

    Is the obvious amateurish agendas that certain cheerleaders hold for particular scientific papers or points of view equally worthless in the greater scheme of things, in your opinion?
     
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry, I'll stick to never at this stage of the game and considering the amount of so called positivism shown by provocatively titled threads supposedly invalidating GR. It won't happen on a forum James, you know that and I know that.
    Sure, but as I said, criticism on forums such as this are open to all sorts of personal baggage which you also know exists, and the rest is simply pissing into the wind.
     

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