Re: Research Illusion

As an academically educated professional and experienced global activist in sustainable development and HUMAN RIGHTS, I defend freedom of speech even if it borders on the verge of biting cynicism and being offensive.

I do however object to the way my words and those of others are interpreted..

I do remember a thread in which Azamat proposed a Federated Ontology System based on a monolithic super structure.

Every reply to Azamat's email has made some valuable point.

We may all have our doubts on the current state of the academia and the scientific publications and how these in their digital formats can be integrated in the semantic web, or linked data clouds.

I do not believe in a perfect world. but I do believe in striving for the best possible world.

In such a world human rights must prevail, which implies that freedom of choice, and freedom of speech are almost absolute.

The academia, however flawed it may be, has the moral obligation to lead and inspire in making the world of knowledge available to each and every one of us.

We have the right to question the academia and to criticize it.

I do however NOT share Azamat's bleak outlook and find his last email to be an unfair representation of the replies to his first email.

I propose we consider the flaws and imperfections and concentrate on coming up with viable solutions.

The obstacles Azamat pointed out are mostly of a human nature and deal with human flaws, these are however not the subject of these lists per se.

For implementing quality control in a wide range of human endeavors the international standards organization ISO has created quality control systems. 

>From the criticism voiced by Azamat I would conclude that it would not be such a bad idea to come up with some generalized system for defining quality control, at least for digital publications, which of course would have to be on a voluntary basis.

This in combination with compliance to technical standards enabling integration in linked data clouds or semantic web would ensure the quality of material in the linked data domains, at least when concerning scientific publications.

Otherwise the internet may soon be swamped by open access repositories and open access journals of lesser quality, which would make the effort of adding these to linked data clouds or the semantic web a waste of scarce resources.

As I said before in earlier threads, a monolithic semantic web is not possible, their will be domains more perfect than others, or speaking in terms of information quality some better than others, instead of trying to make all of them perfect, let's focus on making those for which quality is deemed important as perfect as is humanly and technically possible.

And those domains of collective stupidity, leave them for what they are, they are after all the collective expression of individuals who have the right to have opinions and be stupid, because the exercise of free will to express oneself is a human right most cherished and most guaranteed by almost everyone of the 105 plus human rights treaties recognized by the UN.

Milton Ponson
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--- On Sat, 5/9/09, Azamat <> wrote:

From: Azamat <>
Subject: Re: Research Illusion
To: "'SW-forum'" <>, "[ontolog-forum] " <>
Cc: "Sören Auer" <>, "Mustafa Jarrar" <>, "Pieter De Leenheer" <>,
 Saturday, May 9, 2009, 7:04 PM

SA: "I have the vision that research communities' crowd intelligence could be employed in the Web 2.0 style for deciding about research funding".

MB: "...we see people can vote resources...Allowing people to add ontology-based annotations is just similar and would be another step forward."
JC: "Google scholar provides citation counts, which while still a fairly rough measure, does include an idea of the importance of any piece of work."

PDeL: "I agree with the value of the wisdom of the crowd effect in many cases, however it should be controlled somehow to prevent the emergence of "foolishness of the crowd".

MP: "We second the idea of common standard ontologies for the semantic web use."

These points are all the significant sides and aspects of one problem, (Academic) Research Illusion: "deluding by creating illusory ideas", "considered scientific
 (magical) by laymen (naive observers)", " something what is false", "erroneous mental representation".

I incline to think that the "crowd intelligence" or "foolishness of the crowd" may explain the nature of the "phenomenon", and a canonic world model encoded as a machine-understandable common ontology standards of meanings may allow to head off it at all.

To my knowledge, there are no semantic applications on Intelligence and Collective Intelligence or Stupidity and Crowd Stupidity, what must be a big miss. Some public ventilation of these really critical issues could be of use, theoretical and practical.

Interestingly, while googling "Intelligence" (the power to perceive, learn, image, remember, understand, reason and think, will, or communicate), one gets 130 m hits, while looking for "Stupidity" (lack of intelligence, mentally limited, dumbness, ignorance, an absence of ideas), just 12,2 m hits. There was an economic historian
 Carlo Cipolla, who tried to formulate the fundamental laws of stupidity. One of them: A person is stupid if he causes damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process. Accordingly, he distinguished four groups of people:

 1.. Intelligent people (bringing benefits to themselves and others, generating news values and assets);
 2.. Naive or Helpless people (bringing benefits to others and losses to themselves, enriching the few);
 3.. Criminals or Bandits (just redistributing the assets);
 4.. Stupid people (causing losses to themselves and society at large, destroying the assets).
Its is plain that of all sorts of stupidity, the most dangerous is the one coming from learned professionals, so there to put the academic research head gamers is an open question.

Community-based knowledge forums as Wikipedia are increasingly represented as
 collective intelligence (WikiMind symbiotic intelligence) projects. Apropos, other legacy examples of collective intelligence (or stupidity?) are political parties (for nation-wide political stupidity or global political dullness are sitting here).

The Group Intelligence (group mind, collective intelligence, crowd wisdom) implies collectively solving complex problems by means of networked ICT (as the Internet and Web) resulting in enhancing individual minds and self-identity. Or, technically, it is about a global virtual collaboration of individual minds guided by standard ontological world models and semantic technologies as well as by peering, sharing, objectivity and professional knowledge.

By contrast, Group Stupidity suggests all sort of costly academic research illusions at the cost of degrading individual minds and losing self-identity, technically aggravated by numerous separate ontologies and views and disjoint

Azamat Abdoullaev

PS: As a side note, propose to establish ASA, Academic Stupidity Awards (with categories in each knowledge domain, the stupidest idea, the stupidest article, the stupidest research project, the stupidest academician; for political correctness to use "unintelligent" instead of "stupid"). And please don't mix it with Ig Noble prizes,, having some sense. The existent World Stupidity Awards will then become just a funny joke.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Sören Auer" <>
To: "Jeremy Carroll" <>
Cc: "'Azamat'" <>;
 "'[ontolog-forum] '" <>; "'SW-forum'" <>; <>
Sent: Friday, May 08, 2009 11:04 PM
Subject: Re: Research Illusion

Jeremy Carroll wrote:
> Google scholar provides citation counts, which while still a
> fairly rough measure, does include an idea of the importance
> of any piece of work.

I agree that citation counts are a pretty good estimate
 of a works impact.

A more severe problem from my point of view is the distribution of
research funds.

Existing paradigms seem to be either biased towards large established
organizations or well-connected, long established individuals. For
innovative ideas and younger researchers it is much harder.

I have the vision that research communities' crowd intelligence could be
employed in the Web 2.0 style for deciding about research funding [1].



Received on Saturday, 9 May 2009 20:18:53 UTC