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Thread: Scientific collaborations: a model?

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    Scientific collaborations: a model?

    Interestingly, work in a scientific collaboration (I happen to be part of a few, such as the ATLAS experiment at the CERN LHC) is pretty decoupled from money -- people get salaries and infrastructures from their respective institutes. So, within the Collaboration, assuming only one member per institute (this is not really the case in reality but can be close in some collaborations) there is no money involved in the services exchanged between collaborators. What one gains by doing a good and efficient collaborative work is the good result, and the right to co-sign the scientific paper, and, by playing a key role, to be known as a primary author.

    Everything is organised around a project with a common goal. Anyone is welcome to join as long as one has relevant competencies within the project topic. Leaders are elected for their ability and motivation as much as their expertise in the subject in which they will take decisions. They don't get extra money for taking that decision-making role but they get status within the collaboration and generally they like to do it and strive to do it well. It's a pretty chaotic system -- there is no obvious "authority" with rights to impose things, and in principle everyone can have a say in every decision. There are written rules for keeping some kind of consistency in the organisation, but they can always be discussed and changed along the basic principles of efficiency and scientific integrity. People from all cultures work together and organise themselves to achieve their objectives. That's how it works in scientific collaborations, and it works quite well!

    In an RBE, I can imagine public endeavours to be divided into a multitude of projects (like, building a bridge, a hospital, a farm, a school system, a transportation system...), and for each project, a community of workers with corresponding interests and competencies would get together, organise themselves, elect their leaders among the experts, and go ahead if the project also benefits from general public consent.

    Such a system would be self-regulated by the same principle we have in science: that of peer review. Human affairs would be considered as being a set of projects and subprojects, and the coordination of such projects can itself be a project whose experts are "coordinators" (rather than governors). If needed, project proposals and follow-ups would also be evaluated by different groups around the world doing a similar job and cross-checking each other's work as in scientific peer review (actually in a way similar to how funding agencies evaluate proposals).
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    That's indeed correct as far as I can see. This kind of work is done better in the absence of money (as long as project costs and living expenses are well covered). I personally can also see that working pretty well. The stuff that I saw however claims that this model doesn't work for mundane and/or physical labor. The janitors, delivery people, brick layers and accountants would not be so engaged in that arrangement. I mean, people can spend hours to make some feature in the software beautiful, but are at the same time too lazy to replace the roll of toilet paper. Hence the probable need for automation to make it work decoupled from money.
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    There is a decoupling, but it's not necessarily or just from money. What's the price tag for those projects & where did the money come from? The natural scientist isn't an expert in economics per se, and money and economics are not part of natural science (that's the decoupling). If a group of physicists want to build the next $100 billion dollar super duper collider, they basically go around begging for the money; they make their presentations and case for their project, and that probably involves a little bit of politics to make a persuasive pitch in their presentations and arguments.

    That's just the basics of the natural science field; there can be ethical issues and conflicts of interests when some entities are handing out large sums of money to the scientists who are willing to write papers that are consistent with their agenda, whether they're true or accurate, or not. This is where what Jacque Fresco says about how it's hard to trust anyone in a monetary system comes into play, including the scientific community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    There is a decoupling, but it's not necessarily or just from money. What's the price tag for those projects & where did the money come from? The natural scientist isn't an expert in economics per se, and money and economics are not part of natural science (that's the decoupling). If a group of physicists want to build the next $100 billion dollar super duper collider, they basically go around begging for the money; they make their presentations and case for their project, and that probably involves a little bit of politics to make a persuasive pitch in their presentations and arguments.

    That's just the basics of the natural science field; there can be ethical issues and conflicts of interests when some entities are handing out large sums of money to the scientists who are willing to write papers that are consistent with their agenda, whether they're true or accurate, or not. This is where what Jacque Fresco says about how it's hard to trust anyone in a monetary system comes into play, including the scientific community.
    Sadly you are right Monetary economic considerations bias all human relationships and also bias the way science is done. Many of my colleagues do science the way one drives a company -- investing in fields where the money is likely to be in the near future (with increasing importance on potential industrial applications), making "safe bets" not based on the chances of making discoveries or on scientific arguments but rather on the chances of getting funded.

    However it is still true, even in today's world, that if there is enough scientific promise in a field it will be reflected in a lot of interest and result in building a community. In general, if the community is strong, the funding follows. However it does not go the other way -- i.e., a strong community does not always mean there is a lot of scientific promise. People sometimes cluster together just for the sake of getting stronger and influencing the politics (people in power), without much regard to the science itself.

    Clearly science would be better off without monetary incentives, we agree on that. What I wanted to point out is that the way people organise themselves in scientific collaborations in a situation where enough funding for the project exists from outside can be seen as a model, or an example of a way of functioning on an equal footing, without a top-down authority, in a self-regulating manner. It is an insurance that this way of functioning works, at least in this context.
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    Quote Originally Posted by YaseaP View Post
    That's indeed correct as far as I can see. This kind of work is done better in the absence of money (as long as project costs and living expenses are well covered). I personally can also see that working pretty well. The stuff that I saw however claims that this model doesn't work for mundane and/or physical labor. The janitors, delivery people, brick layers and accountants would not be so engaged in that arrangement. I mean, people can spend hours to make some feature in the software beautiful, but are at the same time too lazy to replace the roll of toilet paper. Hence the probable need for automation to make it work decoupled from money.
    I can just tell you about my own experience: I had a project which involved crushed rock samples to be analysed with a superconducting magnetometer. However some of my samples were raw stones, they had to be crushed and put into small plastic boxes. Since I had virtually 0 funds for this project and no access to advanced equipment (other than the magnetometer), I simply did it myself : spent hours crushing rock with a hammer and painstakingly putting the gravel into small boxes which I bound together with tapes and carefully labelled. Driven by necessity, I could even get one of my colleagues, a respected professor, to participate in these tasks. We were happy to do it companionably, simply we knew it was needed, and were rewarded at the end with a nice publication.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    I can just tell you about my own experience: I had a project which involved crushed rock samples to be analysed with a superconducting magnetometer. However some of my samples were raw stones, they had to be crushed and put into small plastic boxes. Since I had virtually 0 funds for this project and no access to advanced equipment (other than the magnetometer), I simply did it myself : spent hours crushing rock with a hammer and painstakingly putting the gravel into small boxes which I bound together with tapes and carefully labelled. Driven by necessity, I could even get one of my colleagues, a respected professor, to participate in these tasks. We were happy to do it companionably, simply we knew it was needed, and were rewarded at the end with a nice publication.
    The world needs more scientists like you.
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    Here is an interesting article analysing the way the ATLAS collaboration works, highlighting exactly the aspects I mentioned, and also the question of individual credit:
    Who Really Found the Higgs Boson - Issue 18: Genius - Nautilus
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    The System of Work.

    Projects are established either systematically to solve given problems within our society based upon their importance towards our survival and evolution, development and integrity, potential and productivity, freedom and power.

    These projects are automatically coordinated using the most efficient means necessary.

    Although as for projects that are superficially based, a direct democratic system will establish and coordinate said projects.

    Essentially people decide how we adapt neutral features, work is divided through the system.

    How neutral features are defined.

    Quote Originally Posted by Izon View Post
    Positive Force = Prosperity, Health (well-being of life), Happiness/Proficiency.

    Prosperity = Potential and Productivity, Freedom and Power.

    Health = Development and Integrity, Evolution and Survival of Life.

    Happiness/Proficiency (neutral force(s) adapted to life and prosperity through optimal standards).

    Negative Force (anti-positive force) = Violence (Destruction, Death, Suffering/Deficiency).

    Any influence or Behavior established through negative factors that are not appropriately counter negative are illegal.
    Appropriately counter negative means that the factors involved are necessary negative force(s) required to eliminate negative force(s).

    Any influence or behavior that would naturally be established as such (mathematical natural selection) creating development and maintaining integrity, evolving and surviving through negative factors that aren't appropriately counter negative are illegal.


    The protocols for said establishment and coordination can be found at the link posted above.
    Last edited by Izon; 06-01-2016 at 04:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
    Here is an interesting article analysing the way the ATLAS collaboration works, highlighting exactly the aspects I mentioned, and also the question of individual credit:
    Who Really Found the Higgs Boson - Issue 18: Genius - Nautilus
    May i ask you a question about string theory research?
    I know its a big and important subject, but some physicists are sceptical of its results and prospects like neil tyson. is it really that important that we have to spend our best brains and researchers on it, or is it overrated?

    i honestly don't know is why i ask... thanks
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    Last edited by RhythmAnarchy; 06-01-2016 at 08:22 AM.
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    Everything Is Possible. Nothing Is True.
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