Holiday Weekend

I hope everybody has a good Memorial Day weekend. I'm not planning on being very active in online discussions this weekend, but I saw something I thought was amusing so why not share?

There were accusations some time back about an organization committing fraud by claiming credit for work it had nothing to do with. I don't intend to go into that. What I want to do is highlight something amusing from a recent discussion related to it. A recent post says:

I focussed on two large grants, both from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), for the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Leeds (U Leeds). The first grant was £4.6 million, the second £4.4 million. These grants matter because this is money from the UK taxpayer. These are also easy to investigate because the ESRC tells beneficiaries to publish their outputs. The first grant ran from Oct 2008 to Sep 2013. All outputs are archived. The second grant runs from Oct 2013 to Sep 2018. All outputs that were used in the mid-term review are archived.

The first project claims 444 papers as outputs of the research grant. 36 (8%) of these papers were published in or before 2008. The project started in October of that year. It is extraordinary to do a piece of academic research and publish it in three months time.

I quoted that first paragraph for context, but the amusing part is found in the other paragraph. This post notes the first grant began in October 2008, claiming, "It is extraordinary to do a piece of academic research and publish it in three months time." Now, I don't know about all that. It seems to me doing things like writing a 10 page chapter for a book might not take that many months. Of course, I also understand not all publications require one do new "academic research" as often researchers just need funding to be able to write up work which has already been done.

That's not what's funny though. What's funny is the second paragraph I quoted says "papers were published in or before 2008." That sounds pretty damning even if we ignore the fact not all the publications in question were actually "papers." It sounds damning because a paper published in 2007 or any previous year could not have been funded by a grant obtained in the latter portions of 2008. Only, not a single listed publication was published before 2008.

Yes, that's right. Thirty six "papers" were published in 2008. A post describes that as meaning 36 papers were published "in or before 2008." That is technically true. It is also true all 444 "papers" were published "in or before" 2017. It is also true I am writing this post "in or after" the year 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire.

I know this isn't important, but I thought it was funny. It's like the car insurance commercial I kept seeing a few years back where the viewer was told they could save "up to 10% or more!" Statements like these may technically be true, but every time I hear them, I have to shake my head.

Anyway, enjoy your holiday weekend. I don't know about you guys, but I am looking forward to having a cookout.

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