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I Pitty Da Fool Who Cuts and Pastes

March 4, 2015

Anyone with a background in research will know that reference lists are key.  You just HAVE to make it clear where you got the information that you are discussing from.  Why?  Many reasons, none of which is ‘so people who read it can memorize everything and cut and paste it onto their website to make themselves look good’.  That is wrong people.

I don’t disclose all of my background reading because:

  1. I often have to pay for access to the journal articles and sending blog readers to a link that lands them in a ‘now pay $40’ situation probably wouldn’t be appreciated.
  2. Most people reading blogs take them for what they are – opinion media with a dose of ‘reality TV’ AKA ‘hey you, look what I tried at home!” and wouldn’t follow the links anyway.
  3. I derive a good part of my income from discerning information, scanning ‘science’ and presenting it to clients to back up  their particular claims, position, investment deal or philosophy. I am not going to just give this away and de-value my own personal time and financial investments or those of my clients.

Scientific papers are classified as ‘primary’ sources of information – they are the original ‘I did this experiment’ reports. Primary data can be expensive to get hold of and while it should be quoted or referenced if you are using tables, conclusions or other snippets of information from, if it just helped form your opinions the blog writer doesn’t have to share. That said I am always happy to discuss my articles with interested parties,  to furnish them with additional reading and support them as they form their own opinions and draw their own conclusions.

But a blog is not a primary source.

As my business has grown I have seen my thoughts pop up all over the place – my thoughts are my IP, my blog is my IP, my mind is a valuable asset believe it or not (sshhhhhhhh you will wake the fairies).  Sometimes the very thoughts that I’ve typed up here appear on other blogs, websites or forums without my knowledge or permission.  It’s rare to find them properly quoted or linked back to my blog…….

Sometimes my thoughts are re-arranged by these ‘thought harvesters’ but it is obvious by the construct of the argument and the lack of other information where the information came from.

Sometimes I think in pictures, hand-made notes or scribbles – I’ve seen those pop up in un-authorised places too, talk about bare faced cheek!  This is all to be expected in a world where people have grown up believing that ‘research’ is googling stuff and ‘being creative’ is cutting and pasting stuff and making it look pretty but it doesn’t make it right.

Changing our mind about a situation or looking at a thing another way because of what we have read is all pretty normal human behaviour, it’s all part of learning.  However, learning also requires effort on the side of the student,  to critically evaluate what has been said,  to put it into context,  to try it on or out – test it.  I am not convinced that everyone knows what that means and I’m absolutely certain that the effort required is in the ‘too hard’ basket for some.

It is important to remember that in most cases a blog is not a good ‘primary source’ of info as the value of a blog is in its Journal style musings.  You are getting the blog writers original thoughts and not a well planned science experiment.

While I don’t always cite my primary references I don’t try to hide them, for me it is not about deception it is what it is, based on my reasons above.  However, if I have read or seen something from someone else, a REAL person that has made me think or question something OR has helped me answer a particular question I will either name my source or I’ll say ‘another chemist’ or whatever.  I don’t want a gold star or anything as that is silly but don’t you think it is only polite to be honest with your readers about what you have slaved over vs what you have borrowed from other people?

I pity da fool (I loved Mr T as a kid,  Saturday afternoons the whole street would gather around our TV to watch the A Team blow stuff up and hide in trees. Oh the memories) as it shows just how far away from critical thought we have come as a species and that is dangerous.

I was feeling a little sad about how readily people seem to run with the opinions of others, adopting them as their own, especially when it is done to make them look good and knowledgable but then I realised that being sad is a bit pointless.

My whole blog and everything I write is about getting people to think for themselves and coming up with original, creative solutions, yes occasionally I give them a helping hand, a bit of inside information,  a few ‘tips from the coal face’ but essentially my aim is to enable critical thought and primary research AND to champion the ‘cosmetic chemistry rocks’ cause. I have no time for people who dumb it down.

If you like what you see on other people s blogs or brands reference it. That’s all.

The people who don’t value that  and don’t recognise when they are de-valuing the work of others don’t matter.

Well, not in my business anyway.

So there.

Amanda x

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 5, 2015 1:59 am

    true true!

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