Obsession with Metrics Corrupting Science

More later, but an interesting piece. http://phys.org/news/2015-06-obsession-metrics-corrupting-science.html (HT to Sabine Hossenfelder @skdh )

The problem with measuring things is (a) you need to choose an object (thing) to measure, and (b) you need to choose another object (measurement) to quantify. Both those things are prejudiced by the model you started with. If your model is a hypothesis you’re attempting to falsify, that’s OK. But contrary to popular belief that’s only a small (albeit crucial) part of science – most of science is creative exploration, and objectification is (literally) the last thing you need.

Stop measuring and start listening, experiencing unmediated by your chosen measuring device or measures, with an open mind, without prejudice. You might learn something.

In fact the article concerns meta-science, about measuring academic inputs to and outputs from science resources, not about scientific measurements themselves, but the same considerations apply. Values are more important than measures. The topic arose in this blogging project from the perspective of “scientific management” – governance of any human system, whether the content is science or widget-making. Perversely science suffers disproportionately from scientific management. Science is (should be) scientific enough without it.

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