Scientific disagreements are very common, as are folks who take these personally. When the ‘facts’ are tenuous, each side claims victory even though there is no resolution. Most of the time, these debates are esoteric. No one (else) cares. 1/
The debates play out, sometimes quite viciously in the pages of scientific journals. “Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics because the stakes are so low.” (Sayre) But we are now in a new reality. The stakes could not be higher. 2/
Every single piece of news about covid19 plays out in the front pages of the worlds newspapers. Every person with a computer fancies themselves a virology sleuth (some are very good tbh). From masking and shutdowns, then vaccines, these debates drive our politics. 3/
How could they not? So many people have died. Now the conversation has moved to the origins of the virus. But what is true now is that the debates are no longer academic or public health debates. National security interests are at play. It is hard to be dispassionate. 4/
But, here’s the thing, we still need the best minds at work here. The pandemic is not over. Channeling violence through words or actions against scientists you disagree with is wrong, full stop. To do so blithely ignores the reality of actual violence being visited upon them. 5/
It is not a moral victory that a talented scientific leader, even one you think is completely wrong, has chosen to stop engaging and has been forced to expunge his Twitter history. Let’s call it what it is: a shame which I fervently hope does not lead to something worse. /fin

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More from @HarmitMalik

11 Apr
I'm excited that our community is discussing how to help folks (esp ESIs & their lab members) withstand the effects of Covid19 on their labs' viability. I would like to discuss the role that funding agencies can play to ensure the continued success of our cimmunities 1/
I must confess that I am not an expert in these topics, but this is a discussion we must be willing to have so I’m happy to take a first stab at this, even if I end up making a fool of myself (it wouldn't be thr first time) 2/
First, from funding agencies' perspective, it makes sense to ensure that investment into labs is given a chance to reach fruition; running out the clock on grants after 2-4 years of work because they were hit by Covid19 makes no sense, to the PIs or the funding agencies. 3/
Read 8 tweets
10 Apr
I've had some tough conversation with colleagues (esp. junior PIs) over past few weeks that prompted me to write this. My intention is not to offend but to draw attention.

I'm proud of colleagues who pivoted to Covid19 research & published many amazing papers over past year. 1/
But I'm also proud of colleagues who showed kindness to their labmates & tempered expectations about productivity in an already difficult funding climate. Their focus on mental health of their lab is something to be commended. 2/
Especially now, the scientific enterprise needs these voices at the table. But a year (or more) of lost productivity can be fatal for tenure/ promotion decisions, grant funding decisions & the survival of these labs. Many departments have responded by extending tenure clocks. 3/
Read 6 tweets
21 Dec 20
Having dug a hole for myself on the issue of preprint reviews, I continue to dig deeper. I must confess that a patient friend crystallized my objections to me. I know a lot of people review preprints and papers equally diligently. However, I do not. 1/
I often do not review preprints from an evaluative eye the way I might for a journal. I usually 'review' them purely from the perspective of trying to make constructive suggestions on a story I'm interested in because it is cool and in my field. 2/
To that end, I raarely post public comments. Instead, I send unsolicited emails to the authors with my suggestions and objections. My reviews are not always 'easy'; occasionally they are tough and suggest more rigor in argument or experiment before submission to peer review 3/
Read 9 tweets

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