How could this have happened? Surely any government, before spending that much money, would insist on very strong evidence from clinical trials that the drug in question was worth buying. The answer is that the drug companies did not make their data available, and papers reporting on the clinical trials were written by employees of those companies, so basically we just had to trust them. And it turns out, after a four-year battle to get hold of the data, that trusting them was a very bad thing to do. Worse still, it seems that this kind of situation is absolutely normal. A more extreme example of the benefits of open science would be hard to find.
The link below tells the story in more detail. If you want a longer read, then writes about it, and the general situation concerning drug trials, very interestingly here: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/10/tamiflu-saga-drug-trials-big-pharma
Academia is broken. Discuss.
figshare founder Mark Hahnel will be taking part in an AMA (Ask me Anything) on the r/science sub-reddit of reddit.com today, Wednesday the 9th April at 6pm BST / 1pm EST.
If you are unfamiliar with the format, an AMA is popular way to ask those of note questions you wouldn’t normally get the chance to ask. Mark’s AMA does have a topic, which is
Academia is broken. Discuss.
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 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.
But as the format defines, he’s open to anything!
We will also try to live-tweet some of the conversations, so get involved on twitter by using the #askmarkh hashtag. The AMA will take place on this link:
Whilst it doesn't start until 6pm BST it's live now to jump in, upvote and add your questions. If you wish to participate, you will need to be registered with Reddit.
Looking forward to seeing your questions up there,
The figshare team
David Bressoud recently wrote a post Age is Not the Problem in his MAA Blog Launchings. There are several topics in his post in his response to Edward Frenkel's Op-Ed piece in the LATimes . One topic I want to emphasize is that teaching and implementatio...
- Northern Arizona UniversityAssistant Professor, 2012 - present
- University of Colorado at BoulderGraduate Student/Teaching Assistant, 2003 - 2008
- Front Range Community CollegeMath Faculty, 2001 - 2003
- Northern Arizona UniversityGraduate Student/Instructor, 1997 - 2001
- Plymouth State UniversityAssistant Professor, 2008 - 2012
My primary research interests are in the interplay between combinatorics and algebraic structures. More specifically, I study the combinatorics of Coxeter groups and their associated Hecke algebras, Kazhdan-Lusztig theory, generalized Temperley-Lieb algebras, diagram algebras, and heaps of pieces. By employing combinatorial tools such as diagram algebras and heaps of pieces, one can gain insight into algebraic structures associated to Coxeter groups, and, conversely, the corresponding structure theory can often lead to surprising combinatorial results. The combinatorial nature of my research naturally lends itself to collaborations with undergraduate students, and my goal is to incorporate undergraduates in my research as much as possible. See my scholarship page for more information.
Furthermore, I am passionate about mathematics education. In particular, I am interested in inquiry-based learning (IBL) and the Moore method for teaching mathematics. This educational paradigm has transformed my teaching. I am currently a Special Projects Coordinator for the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning and a mentor for several new IBL practitioners. Moreover, I actively give talks and organize workshops on the benefits of IBL as well as the nuts and bolts of how to implement this approach in the mathematics classroom.
I am also interested in utilizing technology to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics. Specifically, I choose free and open-source software and technologies when appropriate. For example, I have been incorporating Sage and GeoGebra into my teaching. Sage is a free open-source mathematics software system licensed under the GPL. It combines the power of many existing open-source packages into a common Python-based interface. For examples of a few of the cool things you can do with Sage, check this page. According to their webpage, GeoGebra is free and multi-platform dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that joins geometry, algebra, tables, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package. There are tons of awesome GeoGebra examples located here.
In addition to using free and open-source software, I am inspired by the recent open-source textbookmovement and I strongly believe that educators should choose free, open-source, or low cost textbooks when a viable alternative exists. For a list of open-source textbooks, go here and here.
Angie Hodge and I are coauthors for Math Ed Matters, which is a (roughly) monthly column sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. The column explores topics and current events related to undergraduate mathematics education. Posts aim to inspire, provoke deep thought, and provide ideas for the mathematics—and mathematics education—classroom. Our interest in and engagement with IBL color the column's content.
I also maintain a personal blog, which is part of the Booles' Rings network of academic home pages/blogs. On my blog, I typically write about topics related to mathematics, education, and technology. In addition, I occasionally post about my cycling, trailing running, and rock climbing adventures on my Elevation Gain blog.
Lastly, I am a husband and a father of two incredible sons. Oh, I enjoy drinking copious amounts of coffee, too.
- George Mason UniversityBS, Mathematics, 1993 - 1997
- Northern Arizona UniversityMS, Mathematics, 1997 - 2000
- University of Colorado at BoulderPhD, Mathematics, 2003 - 2008