Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wild ducks needed for innovation

In a Newsweek interview Intel's former CEO Andy Grove calls for a "cultural revolution in research community" and hits on pharma industry's inefficiency and peer review system.

"The peer review system in grant making and in academic advancement has the major disadvantage of creating conformity of thoughts and values. It's a modern equivalent of a Middle Ages guild, where you have to sing a particular way to get grants, promotions and tenure. The pressure to conform [to prevailing ideas of what causes diseases and how best to find treatments for them] means you lose the people who want to get up and go in a different direction. There is no place for the wild ducks. The result is more sameness and less innovation. What we need is a cultural revolution in the research community, academic and non-academic. We need to give wild ducks the opportunity to emerge and quack their way to success. But cultural change can be driven only by action at the top." via Newsweek

This comment from Andy Grove reminded me of The Matthew Effect which Nassim Nicholas Taleb highlights in Black Swan:
"Academic success is partly (but significantly) a lottery.

Now, that brings a completely different perspective to the whole citations searches and impact factor business.....

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