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Nurturing Non-Traditional Science (SoS Update)
This is an excerpt of an update email that the SoS team sent to the Gardeners earlier this week. Some of the links may be of interest to our substack readership so we have decided to share it here as well — enjoy!
As a former biologist turned independent researcher and teacher, Roger and his team created this new journal to address the many issues around gatekeeping and review in scientific publishing. In this conversation, he and Sarah talk about reviewing speculative research, stewarding a community, and the aesthetic value of communication.
2. SoS co-founders Dr. Dario Krpan and Roger’s Bacon participated in a panel discussion at the London School of Economics, “Different Perspectives on Diversity of Thought in Social Science” (video). Dr. Krpan and Bacon spoke about how we can encourage greater diversity of thought by reconsidering norms around scientific writing/publishing and by finding more ways to get amateurs/independent researchers involved in social science research. A short commentary on the event which mentions Seeds of Science was written in the Lancet.
The point of this journal, founded by Roger's Bacon (a pseudonym) and Dario Krpan, is to provide a place where people outside the system of science can publish their findings, ideas, and views. Roger's Bacon identified two neglected aspects of diversity. First, psychological diversity. We live in environments that shape our minds. The academic environment privileges particular characteristics: diligence, competitiveness, verbal abilities, organisational skills, quantitative expertise, self-promotion. What about those who do not possess these qualities? Are they to be excluded from science? Second, functional diversity. We think of ourselves as free agents, but the settings we work in impose incentives and constraints that limit our freedom. To promote psychological and functional diversity, we must create possibilities for non-traditional scientists, amateurs, to contribute.
3. "Amateurs" making big discoveries in science/math:
In what may be a major archaeological breakthrough, an independent researcher has suggested that the earliest writing in human history has been hiding in plain sight in prehistoric cave paintings in Europe, a discovery that would push the timeline of written language back by tens of thousands of years, reports a new study.
The surprisingly simple tile is the first single, connected tile that can fill the entire plane in a pattern that never repeats — and can’t be made to fill it in a repeating way.
4. Recently published papers:
How to Escape From the Simulation
Is a Qualitative Metric of Falsifiability Possible?
The Muscle-Readers, a Historical Sketch
Why Proposal Review Should Be More Like Meteorology
Will general antiviral protocols always be science fiction?
Big thanks to all the gardeners who participated in these reviews!
5. A fascinating plant-based "seed of science" that was published a few weeks ago (sadly, not by us): Sounds emitted by plants under stress are airborne and informative.