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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Good science?

Abstract: Choosing good problems is essential for being a good scientist. But what is a good problem, and how do you choose one? The subject is not usually discussed explicitly within our profession. Scientists are expected to be smart enough to figure it out on their own and through the observation of their teachers. This lack of explicit discussion leaves a vacuum that can lead to approaches such as choosing problems that can give results that merit publication in valued journals, resulting in a job and tenure.

How To Choose a Good Scientific Problem. 2009 Molecular Cell 35(6): 726-728

This paper was widely discussed a month ago in the online science groups I frequent, but I've only just got round to reading it. How depressing there is no "public good" element included, it's totally self-absorbed :-(