Pievatolo, Maria Chiara (2018) Oltre l'amministrazione - L'università e la scienza che non c'è. In: Non per profitto: la scienza aperta e il ruolo dell’università, 25 ottobre 2018, Trento.
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The conference presents an attempt to deal with the controversy about research quality control: should it only be individual and "artisanal", on a case by case basis, or can it be general and industrial-scale, e.g. bibliometric? The Italian advocates of the latter argues that the failures of bibliometric offer only anecdotal evidences. Showing them yet another instance of failures and distortions caused by blind applications of bibliometric and quantitative assessment criteria is pointless: like ancient sophists, they will keep on answering that our instances are not enough to make a “heap”. To avoid the trap of the sorites paradox, an alternative strategy would be A different answering strategy would be analyzing individual cases of scientific mistakes, showing if and how they received a social correction, to ask whether we could actually trust a general, industrial-scale quality control. 1. Wikipedia in Italian: the correction of a misleading entry about DOI. Even if Wikipedia community open peer review corrected the entry as soon as the mistake was detected, the source of the mistake, outside Wikipedia, could not be corrected, and the misleading information is still reported on other sites. And it would be pointless to state that a single mistake is just anecdotal, because there are thousands of accurate entries in Wikipedia and we can easily correct the mistaken one. Indeed, (1) each Wikipedia entry is a kind of unique piece (you cannot replace a misleading entry about the DOI with a very good entry about cats); (2) a mistaken entry, even after being corrected, keeps on yielding a wide and persistent social effect. Correcting a single Wikipedia entry is not the same as replacing a defective product issued from a mass production assembly line because a single customer among 10.000 is unsatisfied due to a single quality control failure. 2. Wakefield, The Lancet and the vaccine row: we can apply the arguments above, but with, at least, two differences: (a) the social correction process was much slower (12 years: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/the-end-of-an-error-peer-review/) (b) the huge, persistent social damage was increased by the social trust in top journals as magical excellence bearers: while every perceptive Wikipedia user is aware that a Wikipedia entry is just a work in progress, many of us are encouraged to believe that a paper published in “The Lancet” is excellent by definition. In conclusion, such case by case analysis suggests that there is, indeed, an unbalance between the quality control of science - artisanal and case by case - and its industrial dimension.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)|
|Natural Language Keywords:||bibliometric, quality control, epistemology, research assessment|
Dip. Scienze della Politica > Filosofia Politica
Filosofia > Miscellany of philosophy > Filosofia Politica
Filosofia > Modern Western philosophy > Filosofia Politica
|Depositing User:||Maria Chiara Pievatolo|
|Date Deposited:||28 Oct 2018 23:12|
|Last Modified:||28 Oct 2018 23:12|
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