I would like to tell you about a serious condition afflicting thousands of policy analysts. It’s called Petty Little Dictator Disorder, or PLDD, and you or someone you love could be suffering from this epidemic sweeping through our think tanks, advocacy groups, and government offices.
By way of comparison, the arrangement of having teachers act as both instructors and assessors is akin to asking the judges in a gymnastics competition to also coach the gymnasts leading up to the event, or asking a restaurant manager to conduct official food handling inspections at his restaurant. In many domains of life, we recognize that we create problematic conflicts of interest if we ask people who produce or perform to also provide the ratings of their outputs for external audiences. Yet, in education it is the norm to ask teachers to both coach their students and rate their students’ academic achievements.
Just five weeks after Science magazine prominently featured a paper proclaiming that the multidecadal slowdown in the rate of the earth’s average temperature rise—aka, the “pause” or “hiatus”—was but a figment of bad data, comes a new paper in Science magazine explaining the physical mechanisms that have led to the slowdown.
You read it right. What Science laid to rest but a month ago, Science has now resurrected. Science (with a capital “S”), and those dedicated to it, should not be amused.
But such is the nature of the game. Science the magazine is more interested in generating publicity for itself than in best serving Science the field—a point being increasingly raised by prominent scientific figures.