Print
Jan
02

Core Values, Mission Statement & PROM

Written by Thomas Richard

Here we detail our core values, Mission Statement and the workings of our pioneering new approach to scientific peer review: Peer Review in Open Media ('PROM'). You will find here much in accord with the ideas of Karl Popper.

1. PSI CORE VALUES:

Principia Scientific International is a self-sustaining community of impartial scientists from around the world deliberating, debating and publishing cutting-edge thinking on a range of issues without a preconceived idea of outcomes.

PSI has identified that there are currently two opposing methodologies at conflict:

Traditional scientific method: borne of the Age of Enlightenment and which gave rise to the technological advances of the industrial revolution.

Post-normalism:* pre-deterministic approach where policy and outcome dictate the kind of ‘science’ needed to justify it. The most culpable purveyors of this modern malaise are national governments, NGO’s and big corporations.

PSI ASSOCIATES are steadfast in their support of the traditional scientific method as encapsulated most eloquently in the ideas of Karl Popper. As such PSI opposes post-normalism and endeavors to provide society with an antidote (from the Greek αντιδιδοναι antididonai, "given against") to the seemingly gargantuan and pervasive rise of post-normal science by way of our publishing, educational and media-focused materials and presentations. For, as Karl Popper advocated, any hypothesis that does not make testable predictions is simply not science. Such a hypothesis may be useful or valuable, but it cannot be said to be science.

(Wikipedia excerpt) In Popper's view, the advance of scientific knowledge is an evolutionary process characterized by his formula:

PS_1 rightarrow TT_1 rightarrow EE_1 rightarrow PS_2. ,

In response to a given problem situation (PS_1), a number of competing conjectures, or tentative theories (TT), are systematically subjected to the most rigorous attempts at falsification possible. This process, error elimination (EE), performs a similar function for science that natural selection performs for biological evolution. Theories that better survive the process of refutation are not more true, but rather, more "fit"—in other words, more applicable to the problem situation at hand (PS_1). Consequently, just as a species' biological fitness does not ensure continued survival, neither does rigorous testing protect a scientific theory from refutation in the future. Yet, as it appears that the engine of biological evolution has produced, over time, adaptive traits equipped to deal with more and more complex problems of survival, likewise, the evolution of theories through the scientific method may, in Popper's view, reflect a certain type of progress: toward more and more interesting problems (PS_2). For Popper, it is in the interplay between the tentative theories (conjectures) and error elimination (refutation) that scientific knowledge advances toward greater and greater problems; in a process very much akin to the interplay between genetic variation and natural selection. (End of Wikipedia excerpt)

So where does the 'untruth' of post-normal scientist take us? Here is a clue:

"Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists - and politicians - must trade (normal) truth for influence." -- Mike Hulme, British Climate Scientist.

2. PSI MISSION STATEMENT:

Principia Scientific International strives to:

  • Be the leading independent voice for principled science as per the Traditional Scientific Method (TSM) and associated ideas of Popper;
  • Be an authoritative source of information for the advancement of new scientific ideas and the raising of standards in science for the benefit of the broader international community;
  • Publish books, periodicals, give lectures and media interviews as part of our diverse program of support for encouraging the application of the principles of ESM in the community;
  • Collaborate with national scientific societies and policymakers for the advancement of science, science education and the science community;
  • Cooperate with international science societies to promote transparent, verifiable methods and ethical scientific practice (as per the ESM), to enhance openness and accountability in research and to foster international collaboration;
  • Champion the pioneering method of peer-review in open media (PROM) and promote this process as the gold standard for assessing the merits of new scientific research.

3. HOW THE PROM PROCESS WORKS:

Peer-review in open media (or PROM peer-review) works by seeking to engage outside independent third party input into the peer-review process and does not hide reviewers' names or comments from public view. This is achieved by publishing a draft proposal of a submitted science paper onto our website. This is normally done after a preliminary internal review by our reviewing team to ensure elementary due diligence.

Then the submitted paper be shall appear on the PSI website in the form of a PROM draft paper inviting comments from our list of select readers (PSI members notified by email), as well as (on select occasions) by way of a press release statement.

The paper will be open to public review as a PROM PAPER for a period of approximately one month. Upon feedback received after public review the PSI internal reviewers will re-assess the paper taking into account any received comments they believe are valid. They will then recommend, and PSI shall authorize, either publication of the paper in full with the PSI full seal of approval; or we will suggest revisions so that the author may make appropriate amendments. At this stage PSI will then either publish in full or advise re-submission of the paper into the PROM system, at the discretion of PSI, to repeat the PROM review process.

Reviewers’ Status, Recognition and Remuneration

To compensate our reviewers for their time in doing such work PSI allocates them a 'PSI credit' which is will have a nominal value until such time as it can be monetized at a future date upon PSI successfully acquiring financial backers, paid subscription and voluntary donations. Submitting authors are not required to contribute financially. PSI merely requests the author publishes acknowledgments with a message of thanks to the reviewers.

The process aims to be flexible and adaptive to ensure that each submitting author is availed of all comments received. Such comments will be openly posted below the published draft upon editorial inspection.

Our editing team will see to it that the comments process is not abused and will retain the right to delete amend any comments that are inappropriate (at their discretion). The process allows PSI and the submitting author full control to choose to amend/remove his/her PROM paper and any retain editorial control. The outcome will thus be the product of internal and external review presented professionally and respectfully in a public arena.

 It is hoped that PROM will stimulate productive discussion on emerging new science and elicit the most helpful constructive feedback possible in time-effective and cost-effective terms. Of course, like any pioneering process the PROM method may be adapted as we go and we hope authors will work with us if there are any required modifications, in the understanding that our desire is to make constant improvements.

In short, PSI shares with our authors responsibility to strive to publish to the highest standards we can achieve while meeting the falsifiability criterion extolled by Karl Popper and the transparency and verifiability requirements of the scientific method.

MEMBER RECRUITMENT:

During 2013 PSI welcomes membership applications from everyone. PSI is free to join for all qualified scientists, engineers and related professionals (inc. media and education). However, for those who can afford it, we do suggest a voluntary donation of 30Euros. To join register today - its simple and quick.

For more information contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

*Post-Normal Science is a concept developed by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, attempting to characterise a methodology of inquiry that is appropriate for cases where "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent" (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991). It is primarily applied in the context of long-term (politcized) issues where there is less available information than is desired by stakeholders (aka a social elite).