John Cochrane offers a long proposal on the necessity of better replication conventions. He concentrates on the economics journals. The generalization to other disciplines is straightforward.
Science demands transparency. Yet much research in economics and finance uses secret data. The journals publish results and conclusions, but the data and sometimes even the programs are not available for review or inspection. Replication, even just checking what the author(s) did given their data, is getting harder.Plus a trenchant observation on the emergence of the technocratic imperative.
Economists, when studying everyone else, by and large value free markets, demand as well as supply, emergent order, the marketplace of ideas, competition, entry, and so on, not tight rules and censorship. Yet in running our own affairs, the inner dirigiste quickly wins out. In my time at faculty meetings, were few problems that many colleagues did not want to address by writing more rules.Wisconsin-Milwaukee chemist David Petering, in the midst of making a case for academic tenure as part of the job description, reminds readers that an institution of higher learning exists to train minds to think.
A university replete with rapid response programs to the latest short-term trends in the market will not ensure that graduates have jobs now or in the future or that businesses are well-served. Instead, universities, painstakingly developed over decades and centuries, offer both their best opportunity — graduates with well-constructed foundations of knowledge, practice and habits of mind that have depth as well as breadth and empower them with the durable intellectual tools to live and work flexibly over time in a rapidly changing world.Perhaps observers of higher education would be more receptive to that argument if they weren't seeing research using trendy approaches apparently only for the purpose of appearing cutting edge or original, or seeing the proliferation of "studies" and "interdisciplinary" courses. The deconstructionist impulse from within the academy may still prove to be more destructive than the faddish run-the-university-as-a-business imperatives from the legislature.
Tenure isn't broken, so don't fix it. However, the UW System is breaking. How will Wisconsin residents and businesses face an increasingly competitive, knowledge-based world without a world-class UW System?Perhaps the legislators, who have previously fretted about the flagship Madison campus catering excessively to out-of-staters and about Wisconsin residents seeking employment in other states, don't care.
And Jack Cashill contrasts administrative pandering to the Perpetually Aggrieved at Missouri with administrative integrity at Purdue.