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Reforming Academia

January 1, 2014

From Dynamic Ecology, thoughts about how to change the funding schemes to ensure an academy focused on research, not prestige. I found the first answer quite interesting. But, I have never heard of Canada as a model before (poor Canadians).

From What’s the PONT is an intriguing post about the scaling problem. It may not be possible to scale up things that work on a small scale. There is a limit to the economy of scale. At some point in the scaling up, something becomes lost (perhaps it undergoes a kind of bifurcation or critical point). I think this is something to keep in mind when we try to educate more and more with less and less. Like the unraveling of the MOOC’s it is clear that it just won’t work. (And, people who had looked at this before basically said “I told you so”. Not quite me, I must confess, until someone pointed out that long-distance education is an old gambit, and the problems don’t go away just because we have new fancy tools). Even Sebastian Thrun has admitted it. A snarkier version from Rebecca Schuman in Slate.

Universities have been hoping to make money on patents from their researchers work. This is most definitely the hope at Lund, and I did read about it in Paula Stephan’s book. But, it is a poor bet. Most of it won’t pay off.

Samuel Arbesman says first to bring back the generalists. (Yay, I say, as I can’t make up my mind whether I’m interested in Emotion, Modeling, Evolutionary Psychology, methodology, behavioral economics, chaos theory, philosophy….), but also that the innovation and research is no longer in the Academy, but among the startups. Going Changizi, as I like to say.

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