There is much talk today about the current and future state of scientific research enterprise in the U. S. Most of this talk is focused on increasing funding to improve its prospects. In my view, simply increasing funding without eliminating or mitigating other serious problems in the system hurts science more than it helps. That is because the quality of data - the goal and the end product of all research activities - would become worse than it is now.
The purpose of the new system, Assured Science Exchange (ASE), is to take care of all problems and make scientific research very efficient so that we can get more ‘bang for the buck.’ Imagine that with the funds already available we can greatly increase the number of scientists actively conducting research and help them generate vastly superior data in the most efficient way. ASE is designed to function as a satellite system to the traditional system and is based on a concept that combines the best and most advanced approaches, methods, and technologies from a diverse array of fields.
A patent application for the new concept has been filed and a non-profit organization has been incorporated to develop the concept further and convert it into a fully functioning research system. Today’s opening of the website assuredscienceexchange.org marks the first public action toward realizing that objective. This website has been in the works for about nine months now, coincidentally the normal gestation period of a human baby. Seems appropriate, because it sure felt like it.
It was on May 21, 2015 that I first contacted the website designer about creating a website for the organization. At that point, I had no real understanding of the potential uses of a ‘website’ and had not given it much thought since I was pre-occupied with the patent application. I knew that every organization ought to have one and going by the advertisements popping up in my web browser I thought that it would take just a few weeks to create.
My perspective on the website started to change, sometime in the second week of July 2015, when I started thinking about the next steps in the project to get the new system up and running. You see, there is nothing out there that is comparable to the project that I am undertaking. And this project requires a team of people with very different skills, high motivation, and relentless perseverance. I do not see a better way to gather that team than through the website. With its boundless reach, I would not be limiting myself to second-guessing who could help, might want to help, or cannot help. After all, I am not a well-known, influential, or resource-rich person to whom people might pay attention. In fact, given the nature and the scale of the project, people are more likely to dismiss me as some Internet flake.
Thus, the website designing that had started with one goal - garnering public support for the project - needed to include another goal, reaching potential co-founders, advisors, and supporters necessary for growing this new system for scientific research. After much thinking about how to accomplish both those goals, I concluded that the priority at this stage is to convince people of the purity and integrity of the purpose and the sincerity and seriousness of the effort so that those who are interested would be motivated to join. Therefore, the website is anchored by lengthy essays and laden with ample details.
I consider myself a ‘Compelled Entrepreneur.’ Until about two years ago, doing something like this was not even in my wildest fantasies. Circumstances compelled me to do something about the current state of scientific research, an activity that had given me so much intrigue and joy. I am hoping that other people with similar experience or commitment visiting the website or reading the Essays will be also compelled to join the effort and help accomplish the project.
Private reviews of the website started in September 2015, almost on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. After each review, I thought the next review would be the final one before the opening of the website to the public. But it was only on February 15th of this year that I felt we were close to finishing everything that we could do at this juncture and the website would be ready in just a few days. During my regular noon walk that day I started anxiously contemplating the earliest date the website could be opened. It suddenly occurred to me that a symbolic day was coming up in a couple of weeks. Could there be a better date for publicly launching the efforts toward creating a new system for scientific research than the leap day February 29?
It is with a mix of excitement and anxiety that I open this effort to the public and solicit participation. I have no idea what to expect, which is reminiscent of the kind of experiments I love performing at the bench. For inspiration, I will keep in mind the Voyager: the little device that could, if given a chance, and did exceedingly well. The equivalent of gravitational boosts here would be active participation by kindred spirits to keep the effort going and growing.
I invite everybody who is interested in scientific research to go through the website and see how you could help in developing this new system for research. The goal of this new system is to enable all competent scientists to self-sustain a career in research on their own terms, generating vastly superior data most efficiently. The motto of the organization is More scientists and better science with less money. I encourage you to take the time to read the Seven Essays in the Founding page, particularly if you are interested in becoming actively involved in the effort.
In those essays, I describe the many problems in the current traditional system for research that are hurting science and why a new satellite system is required to make better use of resources, both that are already available and new ones that could become available in the future. I have striven to see that the new concept yields a system that would work in the most democratic, efficient, inclusive, versatile, and vibrant manner possible. I believe that this system would also restore and keep the romance of scientific research in generations to come. The concept provides a good basic framework that could be vastly improved to deliver even better results when people with a diverse expertise become involved.
If you cannot become directly involved for any reason but know of others who would be or could be, I would be much obliged if you shared the website’s link with them, assuredscienceexchange.org.
Thank you very much.