Dsc5950The Reddit Ask me Anything forum is a popular way to ask those of note, questions you wouldn’t normally get a chance to. Back in February Timo Hannay took part in one on the
science subreddit; you can read all about it here.

Following Timo’s lead, on Wednesday the 9th April at 6pm UK time / 1pm EST Mark Hahnel, founder of figshare, will be taking part in an AMA on the science subreddit.

Mark’s provocative submission will look at how academia is broken:

There are very few, if any discoveries each year in academia that come about without building on the concepts and ideas that have been previously published in academic journals. This is the natural progression of research. However, this is often limited to building on top of conclusions or ideas, as opposed to conducting the actual research itself. Current dissemination of research is largely based on making .pdf-based summaries of key findings available, while the actual research outputs and raw data behind the graphs are largely unavailable. This isn’t due to a lack of demand to by researchers to get credit for all of their hard work, it’s because the publication and subsequent reward structure in academia does not support this.

Perhaps the most depressing part of academia is the waste of research outputs. So much funding and researcher time goes into doing experiments that produce null results. This isn’t a bad thing. The problem here is that no single academic can be right all of the time, so when experiments are carried out (often at great costs, both financially and in terms of time) that do not confirm the hypothesis, where does this research go? The simple answer is nowhere.

If you wish to participate in the Ask me Anything forum, you will need to
register with Reddit. We will also try to live-tweet some of the conversations, so keep your eyes peeled on the #askmarkh hashtag.

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