Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard”

I recently submitted a manuscript to an education journal, a review essay of another scholar’s work. It opened with a compliment of the author’s “highly-praised and influential work.” To that statement, one reviewer of my manuscript asserted that I used “emotionally loaded language of incredulity, dismissiveness, and hyperbole.” More “tone policing” comments riddled the review, … Continue reading “Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard””


Why Universities Should Not Be Anti-Racist

During the last year, many universities throughout North America have declared “anti-racism” to be their official policy. Consider this sample of quotations. “We must ask how Princeton can address systemic racism in the world, and we must also ask how to address it within our own community.” —Christopher L. Eisgruber, president, Princeton University. “The University … Continue reading “Why Universities Should Not Be Anti-Racist”


Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional

Public colleges spend public money, but college officials are reluctant to make information about their budgets easy to understand. That aversion to transparency makes it easier to pass non-instructional expenses along to students. Many experts have discussed the problem. But without transparency, it can be hard to show just how much so-called instruction is actually … Continue reading “Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional”


Bad Incentives Undermine the Scientific Process

The scientific process is broken. The tenure process, “publish or perish” mentality, and the insufficient review process of academic journals mean that researchers spend less time solving important puzzles and more time pursuing publication. But that wasn’t always the case.


Science and the senator: missing the point about government waste

About to retire, Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn, M.D., has just released his 107-page 2014 Wastebook, a tabloid-type listing of over a hundred wasteful government-funded projects. Coburn continues the tradition of the late William Proxmire, the Wisconsin senator who, more modestly, chose just one or two “Golden Fleeces” each year.




University Incorporated

The lure of financial gains from patented research is causing major changes to academia.



Oops! Congressional “mistake” prompts NIH review

A mistake by a Congressional staff member ignited a review of research projects approved by the National Institutes of Health. But despite what U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) called “scientific McCarthyism,” it turned out Congress had not declared war on the NIH approval process.