Researchers ask timid questions and do not try to get new information or new research, they just explore topics that have already been studied, even if it contributes little to knowledge, according to Kyle Stanford, a professor of philosophy of science at UC Irvine.
“It’s the way the industry is set up,” said Marc Abrahams, creator of the Ig Nobel Prizes, to the Los Angeles Times. “Scientists get promotions only if they crack out a lot of research papers,” he added.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “A recent paper in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine reported that medical journals publish the results of 75 clinical trials and 11 systematic reviews of the trials every day.”
The authors of Public Library of Science Medicine wrote that there is an “overflow of unfiltered information, so it can’t all be groundbreaking.”
In the Journal of Adolescent Health Iannotti of the National Institutes of Health told the Los Angeles Times that victims of cyber-bullying are more depressed than the bullies who torment them.
This cyber-bullying research cost $6,400 and, according to Iannotti, it was, “kind of a duh, but not exactly,” because it was one of the first studies combining the Internet with traditional bullying but at the same time it was already proven that bullies were depressed too.
“Deficit hawks worry that the government spends too much on seemingly pointless research,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense and a nonpartisan watchdog that hands out the Golden Fleece Awards, said to the Los Angeles Times that the awards have exposed such follies of public expenditure as $219,592 to develop a curriculum to teach college students how to watch television and $6,000 to help explain how to buy a bottle of Worcestershire sauce.
“If the public sees things that appear to be ridiculous, it’s going to be harder and harder to get dollars for critical research,” Ellis said.
Ellis also said that funding basic research remains a crucial area for the government, although admitting that not every study is equally worthwhile.