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General Discussion => Post-FIRE => Topic started by: smoghat on February 07, 2019, 06:26:39 AM

Title: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on February 07, 2019, 06:26:39 AM
One option for a productive life after early retirement is independent scholarship. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Let's share resources and experiences!

One big issue is that in the last twenty years it's become both easier and harder to access scholarly literature. Easier because you can access so much literature online now. Harder because big companies charge big bucks to control access to journals and other online data.

Two big sources are EBSCOhost and JSTOR. My library now has access to at least some EBSCOhost resources. Meanwhile, JSTOR is available to alumni of one of my schools.
 
There are also more questionable sources that have been developed by scholars in developing countries who don't have access to the walled garden,  e.g. library genesis and sci-hub as well as aaaaarg (ok not on the same model, but close), monoskop log, and library.memoryoftheworld.org to name a few.

But there are other issues too, independent scholars are seen as peculiar individuals who either are rich (not good to say among Leftie academics!) or couldn't cut it in the academy. It's harder to get things done outside of the institution and so on. Your thoughts!!! 
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on February 07, 2019, 06:51:55 AM
access to journals is not a problem limiteed to independent scholars - the subscription fees for the big publishers like Elsiver are so high that it's a major expense for all but the larger universities, not to mention the sheer number of niche journals.

Those of us at smaller labs or less-endowed colleges have to rely on the P2P sharing of ResearchGate or Sci-Hub, and/or beg and borrow articles from friends with better access.

One reason why I fully support open-access journals.  Unforutnately publication fees for many can be $1k+ if you wish to publish open-access.

Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on February 07, 2019, 07:25:26 AM
Yes! You are absolutely right! 

I've taught at both and it's insane. What the Ivies and MIT have compared to a place like Art Center, OMG! Meanwhile, yes, Open Access has become another profit center.

Maybe a radical underground online journal needs to emerge?

Here's an up side! I once spoke with a friend who wrote for Cabinet and he said "They pay well." I said, what on Earth do you mean, they don't pay anything. He said, yes they do, just to journalists not to academics. :0 

access to journals is not a problem limited to independent scholars

Those of us at smaller labs or less-endowed colleges have to rely on the P2P sharing of ResearchGate or Sci-Hub, and/or beg and borrow articles from friends with better access.

One reason why I fully support open-access journals.  Unforutnately publication fees for many can be $1k+ if you wish to publish open-access.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on February 07, 2019, 07:54:27 AM
(http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd080509s.gif)
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on February 07, 2019, 07:59:51 AM
Just in time for this forum …

I feel liberated! I had agreed to write an article for a Routledge reader last fall.

I hate Routledge publications as a whole (many are too expensive, almost all the rest are shoddy and tempt me in only to disappoint).  I missed the part about providing an abstract in December.

My fault, yes, but the article is due in April and how would I write a 250 word abstract if I hadn't written the article yet? And why would I write it now instead of April? It's not like I have a lot of other things to do.

I had some general ideas and I know that in couple of weeks of work I could have done something good. But I don't operate on their deadlines… They asked me to send the abstract a couple of times and the tone was getting insistent. I'm sure they needed that abstract NOW but they needed my name in the project more than they needed that abstract. 

So I just bowed out of it. I don't need this.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: flyingaway on February 07, 2019, 09:43:33 AM
These days, accessing to scientific papers is not a problem, you can google for a PDF copy or ask the author(s) to e-mail you a copy, for free.
Publishing scientific papers becomes very expensive. Free publishing becomes very rare.
For an independent scholar, I guess you don't care about the formal publication. You can just "publish" it online for free.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on February 07, 2019, 10:32:25 AM
These days, accessing to scientific papers is not a problem, you can google for a PDF copy or ask the author(s) to e-mail you a copy, for free.
Publishing scientific papers becomes very expensive. Free publishing becomes very rare.
For an independent scholar, I guess you don't care about the formal publication. You can just "publish" it online for free.

It's still a problem if oyu don't want to run afoul of copyright laws, and/or if your institution has guidelines preventing such activity. We cannot have PDFs of our articles on our web page, nor can we make them available on platforms such as ResearchGate.

Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on February 18, 2019, 03:59:53 PM
Which is why I say fuck 'em and go to scihub, library genesis, aaaarg (or whatever it is called now), and library.memoryoftheworld.org (plus monoskop log). I'm sick of the fucking abuse. Had some lady who I didn't realize worked at Elsevier over a while back. When she said where she worked, my jaw nearly hit the ground. She actually said, seriously, we aren't all evil. I didn't press it. About as insane to meet someone who works for a place like that as it was to meet a guy who said "Oh you won't know the Internet company I work for." "Oh ya, try me." "Outbrain." :0
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on February 18, 2019, 04:05:18 PM
What did your friend do at Elsevier?  I'm particularly annoyed by them, as they threatened legal action against a friend of mine who was 'caught' distributing his own papers to people he knew who happened to be foreigners. Cause they're all about the 'advancement of knowledge".... eh?
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on February 20, 2019, 03:50:40 PM
I'm not sure what they did. To call them a friend is overstating it. I doubt I'd recognize them on the street. I knew their spouse, but not them. I drank a lot that night to erase any need of conversation.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Trede on February 22, 2019, 08:53:39 AM
Just sharing a link because I don't think I see DeepDyve mentioned for scientific literature access in this thread yet.  I work in a corporate R&D environment and have found their service very valuable vs. the subscription rate: https://www.deepdyve.com/ 
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: seattleite on March 13, 2019, 04:37:52 PM
Funny you mention this as I have been calling myself a Gentleman Scientist since I FIREd. :-)

I like looking back to what might be called the golden age of amateur science, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Of course it was mostly done by those who were independently wealthy. Well, I guess is us, right?

The cool thing is that it doesn't cost a lot to do a lot of this science. I'm sure there are fields that require lots of capital but you'd be surprised what you can do these days without much. Journal access sucks though. My University doesn't provide access to alumni, so I have to do a lot of searching through the web.

I have a degree in CS and since FIREing I've been going through a EE/CE curriculum and somewhat feel like I'm getting a second degree, without the piece of paper at the end of course. Agronomy and the relationship between automated small-scale farming and capturing and sequestering carbon is particularly interesting to me. I'm working on doing small-scale experiments with energy inputs -> carbon and food capture.

What's so exciting to me about FIRE is that we can work on whatever we want and don't have to worry about publishing so many times a year or worrying about losing our grants. The more people who do this, the greater progress we will make to solving our biggest problems. Honestly, more people need to talk about this aspect of FIRE. Thank you for bringing it up.


Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: BicycleB on March 13, 2019, 10:55:14 PM
^Yay!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on May 07, 2019, 05:27:16 PM
I am so happy to have stumbled into this topic. I am in a strange position - I have one of the earliest PhDs in machine learning with neural networks  (graduated in 1992!). My journal papers even have several hundred citations. The real problem for me was to have entered the AI field a bit too early. Back in 1992, I used to get blank looks when I told people that I worked in neural networks. Since I am flexible, I had no problem finding jobs in other areas within computer science and was always very well paid but I've been hankering to get back into AI full time ever since.  I have a mountain of books and papers in math, AI and cognitive science that I want to study very badly.

For the last couple of years, I have been struggling through an increasingly boring software job that has become very unrewarding. And I only recently discovered the term FIRE - it had somehow never dawned on me that I could just quit and spend my time studying and writing papers. Financially, I am already comfortably positioned - way beyond what I need to retire but I need to ease my wife into accepting this. I have made good progress and ought to be ready to jump ship by next early next year. In fact, the knowledge that the end is in sight has really given me hope and improved my spirits.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on May 07, 2019, 05:49:36 PM
GLad to have you here, @2sk22.  I have to admit that I didn't even know what machine learning was until several years ago - certainly much, much later than 1992.
Pretty cool that you can legitimately consider yourself an early pioneer in the field :-)
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: marble_faun on May 07, 2019, 07:30:46 PM
Another resource for independent scholars would be any universities in your local area.  Often you can get community access (sometimes for a small fee), which allows you to use databases from guest computers at the library.  (They typically don't grant remote access as far as I can tell.)  You can also check out academic books and take a look at the actual bound journals on the shelf.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on May 08, 2019, 01:29:22 AM

If you have any interest at all in teaching you might try approaching your local universities to see about adjuncting or lecturing in their CS departments.  Here in Seattle, the UW seems to be having a hard time recruiting full-time professors -- many (if not most) of the new hires are PT with second jobs in industry.  I guess that is better than not having anyone to hire at all.  But the classes still need to get taught, and with half time appointments there are only so many grad students they can take on....

Adjuncting sucks if it is something you have to do while trying to get a TT position, but can be pretty fun for someone who is FIREd and doesn't really need the money.

This is a fantastic idea - hadn't even occurred to me. I think will start by contacting my local community college to see if they could do with an extra instructor. I live just outside New York City so there are a lot of colleges in my area. I was a teaching assistant when I was a grad student and taught introductory programming. I really enjoyed that and used to get good reviews from my students.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on May 08, 2019, 01:45:59 AM
GLad to have you here, @2sk22.  I have to admit that I didn't even know what machine learning was until several years ago - certainly much, much later than 1992.
Pretty cool that you can legitimately consider yourself an early pioneer in the field :-)

Many thanks for the kind welcome. I more or less stumbled into machine learning back in 1990. I was getting a bit desperate looking for a topic for my dissertation. My PhD advisor was actually a statistician who suggested the topic to me at a department reception. He used to joke that if he called his work "statistics" he got no funding but if he called it "machine learning", funding agencies would throw money at him. The field was just beginning to take off and there were lots of low hanging fruit. My advisor had just been given some funding and needed a student. It took just 18 months until I defended my dissertation.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on May 08, 2019, 04:55:40 AM

If you have any interest at all in teaching you might try approaching your local universities to see about adjuncting or lecturing in their CS departments.  Here in Seattle, the UW seems to be having a hard time recruiting full-time professors -- many (if not most) of the new hires are PT with second jobs in industry.  I guess that is better than not having anyone to hire at all.  But the classes still need to get taught, and with half time appointments there are only so many grad students they can take on....

Adjuncting sucks if it is something you have to do while trying to get a TT position, but can be pretty fun for someone who is FIREd and doesn't really need the money.

This is a fantastic idea - hadn't even occurred to me. I think will start by contacting my local community college to see if they could do with an extra instructor. I live just outside New York City so there are a lot of colleges in my area. I was a teaching assistant when I was a grad student and taught introductory programming. I really enjoyed that and used to get good reviews from my students.

THis is actually pretty similar to what our own plans are... thanks to frugal living and early saving we should be pretty close to FI in 3-5 more years, but we don't want to leave academia entirely.  At the same time we dont really want to make the extreme committment to go down the tenure-track path, with 60+ hour work weeks for the next 6-7 years. Adjunct/Instructor positions are easy to come by but pay crap.... but since money isn't the primary concern it can provide intellectual stimulation, reasonable hours/flexibility (e.g. semesters off) and benefits. 
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: RetiredAt63 on May 08, 2019, 05:46:00 PM

THis is actually pretty similar to what our own plans are... thanks to frugal living and early saving we should be pretty close to FI in 3-5 more years, but we don't want to leave academia entirely.  At the same time we dont really want to make the extreme committment to go down the tenure-track path, with 60+ hour work weeks for the next 6-7 years. Adjunct/Instructor positions are easy to come by but pay crap.... but since money isn't the primary concern it can provide intellectual stimulation, reasonable hours/flexibility (e.g. semesters off) and benefits.

They may not pay as well as tenure track but they still pay OK - or at least my last 3 years were my top 3 years, and I was an Instructor.  Of course I also went from Quebec to Ontario (i.e. from super low academic salaries to not too bad salaries).  Not sure how easy they are to get, I found out later there were over 50 applicants for my position.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: FIKristen on September 11, 2019, 08:09:37 PM
But there are other issues too, independent scholars are seen as peculiar individuals who either are rich (not good to say among Leftie academics!) or couldn't cut it in the academy. It's harder to get things done outside of the institution and so on. Your thoughts!!!

Just throwing out an idea here...how about starting a think-tank?

To join, you must be (A) financially independent, (B) committed to the scientific method / peer review, (C) responsible for your own work.

The think-tank provides an "Institutional" affiliation, but the rest is up to you.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Bird In Hand on September 12, 2019, 06:19:37 AM
...but since money isn't the primary concern it can provide intellectual stimulation, reasonable hours/flexibility (e.g. semesters off) and benefits.

@nereo: when you get to this point, just make sure the benefits part is real.  In addition to relatively low pay, some adjunct positions don't come with benefits, or are only benefits-eligible with a relatively large # of hours/week (e.g., 30).
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on September 12, 2019, 08:58:56 AM
...but since money isn't the primary concern it can provide intellectual stimulation, reasonable hours/flexibility (e.g. semesters off) and benefits.

@nereo: when you get to this point, just make sure the benefits part is real.  In addition to relatively low pay, some adjunct positions don't come with benefits, or are only benefits-eligible with a relatively large # of hours/week (e.g., 30).
Good tip.  it really does seem to vary from institution to institution.  Currently I'm at a state U that offers its adjuncts nothing in benefits or support.  Our plan/dream is to port over to one of the smaller, well endowed colleges nearby that do offer benefits to adjuncts.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Reader on September 13, 2019, 05:46:29 AM
one more resource of interest, esp for those with an interest in computer science :
https://arxiv.org/
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on September 13, 2019, 06:42:50 AM
one more resource of interest, esp for those with an interest in computer science :
https://arxiv.org/

Yes that's a great resource and using Google Scholar you can frequently find PDFs of many papers.

However, some important resources like JSTOR are only partially available for independent scholars (see https://support.jstor.org/hc/en-us/articles/115004760028-MyJSTOR-How-to-Register-Get-Free-Access-to-Content for example (https://support.jstor.org/hc/en-us/articles/115004760028-MyJSTOR-How-to-Register-Get-Free-Access-to-Content for example))

I recently bought a yearly subscription to O'Reilly https://www.oreilly.com (https://www.oreilly.com) - its a great value at $400. A great collection of the more practical material.

A quick update on my sabbatical - I quit my megacorp job in July and took a couple of months off before joining a startup earlier this month so I got a taste of what it feels like to be an independent scholar. I have to say it was great and I can't wait for next year when it will become my permanent state!

I was able to get through a big backlog of books and papers that had been piling up. The highlight was being able to read most of the way through Incomplete Nature by Terrence W. Deacon. What a fantastic book! It is very dense but rewarding - this is exactly the kind of book that only someone with a lot of free time on their hands could even try to read.

Mornings were typically spent in reading. In the afternoons, I typically would run experiments in machine learning on my virtual machine cluster in the cloud. All in all, very enjoyable.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on September 13, 2019, 01:55:13 PM

However, some important resources like JSTOR are only partially available for independent scholars (see https://support.jstor.org/hc/en-us/articles/115004760028-MyJSTOR-How-to-Register-Get-Free-Access-to-Content for example (https://support.jstor.org/hc/en-us/articles/115004760028-MyJSTOR-How-to-Register-Get-Free-Access-to-Content for example))

I recently bought a yearly subscription to O'Reilly https://www.oreilly.com (https://www.oreilly.com) - its a great value at $400. A great collection of the more practical material.


I'm just going to toss this out here:  Sci Hub.

Google "where is SciHub now"

That is all.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on September 13, 2019, 04:12:49 PM
I'm just going to toss this out here:  Sci Hub.

Google "where is SciHub now"

That is all.

Ah yes, that's the one started by a Russian academic. Its not 100% reliable so I use that only it when Google Scholar can't find me what I want.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on September 22, 2019, 08:50:16 AM

Just throwing out an idea here...how about starting a think-tank?

To join, you must be (A) financially independent, (B) committed to the scientific method / peer review, (C) responsible for your own work.

The think-tank provides an "Institutional" affiliation, but the rest is up to you.

That is a cool idea!

I could imagine the following permutation:

(A) becomes unaffiliated with a university or other research/teaching entity and then calling it an Unaffiliated Scholars Movement. After all, universities do have very real conflicts of interest and faculty subconsciously and consciously play to those.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: FIKristen on October 10, 2019, 01:58:27 PM

Just throwing out an idea here...how about starting a think-tank?

To join, you must be (A) financially independent, (B) committed to the scientific method / peer review, (C) responsible for your own work.

The think-tank provides an "Institutional" affiliation, but the rest is up to you.

That is a cool idea!

I could imagine the following permutation:

(A) becomes unaffiliated with a university or other research/teaching entity and then calling it an Unaffiliated Scholars Movement. After all, universities do have very real conflicts of interest and faculty subconsciously and consciously play to those.

Well Smoghat, I'm in if you're in.  I'm going to a networking happy hour tonight and when people ask me what I do, I'll say I'm an "unafFIliated scholar."
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on October 17, 2019, 08:11:58 AM
Apologies for a little bragging - perhaps this group will understand :-) I just checked my citation statistics on Google Scholar and found that the papers that I wrote for my PhD have now accumulated about 900 citations!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on October 17, 2019, 09:22:34 AM
Apologies for a little bragging - perhaps this group will understand :-) I just checked my citation statistics on Google Scholar and found that the papers that I wrote for my PhD have now accumulated about 900 citations!
Awesome.  Report back when you hit that magical 1,000.
None of mine have broken the 50 citation barrier :-(
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on October 17, 2019, 09:05:35 PM
Apologies for a little bragging - perhaps this group will understand :-) I just checked my citation statistics on Google Scholar and found that the papers that I wrote for my PhD have now accumulated about 900 citations!
Awesome.  Report back when you hit that magical 1,000.
None of mine have broken the 50 citation barrier :-(
Which doesn’t mean that yours aren’t equally (or more) worthy.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on December 03, 2019, 06:44:54 AM
One of the things I tell myself is that I will still keep up my daily study routine when I'm retired. But I wonder sometimes.

I spent the thanksgiving holiday weekend struggling through an especially densely written technical paper. This paper was very interesting but I was also motivated to understand it because I have to present this at our weekly reading group in my company. I wonder if I would have dug into it as deeply as I did if it wasn't for this looming deadline. The fear of looking stupid in front of smart people is a good motivator!

Keeping your brain engaged is hard work :-)
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 04, 2019, 10:31:16 AM
One of the big issues of being "unaffiliated" is being taken seriously.   "Unaffiliated scholar" sounds an awful lot like "ancient astronaut theorist."   

In academia there can be an awful lot of "not in the club" attitude, and getting anyone to take you seriously when you do not have an academic affiliation can be a challenge. 

To some extent it's snobbishness, but to some extent it's understandable.   Let's just say that being financially independent is not the most common reason for an "unaffiliated scholar" to be unaffiliated.  It can be hard (though not impossible) to establish yourself as not-a-crackpot.   
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: smoghat on December 04, 2019, 09:03:08 PM
One of the big issues of being "unaffiliated" is being taken seriously.   "Unaffiliated scholar" sounds an awful lot like "ancient astronaut theorist."   

In academia there can be an awful lot of "not in the club" attitude, and getting anyone to take you seriously when you do not have an academic affiliation can be a challenge. 

To some extent it's snobbishness, but to some extent it's understandable.   Let's just say that being financially independent is not the most common reason for an "unaffiliated scholar" to be unaffiliated.  It can be hard (though not impossible) to establish yourself as not-a-crackpot.

That said, mainly it’s a mafia. There are plenty of ancient astronaut theorists in the academy. There is also a longstanding history of individuals outside the academy doing better work than people in the academy. But it threatens the academy too much, so they can’t have that. To the ramparts, man the defenses they say!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 09, 2019, 07:55:00 AM
Fair or unfair, protecting the guild or playing the odds, whatever.   It's hard to establish yourself as someone to be taken seriously when you lack credentials and/or affiliations.  Them's just the facts.

That said, one can be taken quite seriously by some pretty high level people, even with less than impressive academic credentials and/or affiliations.  It does, though, require some effort getting over that initial threshold.  Honestly I've found some pretty high level people quite approachable, despite being way way way out of my league academically speaking.   You just have to show more up front than you otherwise would.  Or at least buy the first round. 

Anyway, it's not impossible, it just requires effort.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: nereo on December 09, 2019, 09:07:11 AM
We live in an interesting ara where there seems to be quite a lot of ‘unaffiliated, uncredentialed’ individuals interfacing with traditional research scientists. 
A lot of them are life-long fishermen, hunters or guides that have a lifetime of direct observations but no education past college (and many of them not even that).  Broadly speaking they’ve been incorporated into various research groups because the scientists needed i) land/boat access, ii) their skill set (guide/captain) and/or iii) their clout with other stakeholders.

The last one is actually the most common IME - if you want to involve stakeholders (e.g. fishermen) the most surefire way of doing this is to get the alpha high-liner to be a part of your group.  Sometimes its just for a short project with minimal involvement, but I’ve witnessed quite a few evolve into long-term partnerships with NGOs, Universities etc. Interesting to watch some give the speeches starting with something like “well here I am among all you PhDs and I dropped out of college after my second year...”
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on December 13, 2019, 06:07:19 AM
Nice blog post about independent research: https://nadiaeghbal.com/independent-research

Quote
This is the dark side of independent research. Without external validation - “I teach at Stanford” or “I got a grant from NASA”, it’s hard to convince people that you’re any good at what you do. The same goes for your output: you want peers to acknowledge and review your work, or the signoff of a well-respected journal.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on October 26, 2020, 03:22:42 AM
Apologies for exhuming this necropost but here I am, finally ready to start my new life as in independent scholar :-)

I spent the first month of retirement clearing out my basement but now ready to dive into study. Being away from my computer has been very helpful, I feel mentally recharged. The only problem I face now is that there are so many things I want to get started with right away that I'm almost paralyzed by choice. It will probably take me a few days to narrow down my focus.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: friedmmj on October 26, 2020, 10:17:15 AM
Apologies for exhuming this necropost but here I am, finally ready to start my new life as in independent scholar :-)

I spent the first month of retirement clearing out my basement but now ready to dive into study. Being away from my computer has been very helpful, I feel mentally recharged. The only problem I face now is that there are so many things I want to get started with right away that I'm almost paralyzed by choice. It will probably take me a few days to narrow down my focus.

Congrats on the retirement and wish you happiness in your research endeavors.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on October 26, 2020, 10:32:56 AM
Apologies for exhuming this necropost but here I am, finally ready to start my new life as in independent scholar :-)

I spent the first month of retirement clearing out my basement but now ready to dive into study. Being away from my computer has been very helpful, I feel mentally recharged. The only problem I face now is that there are so many things I want to get started with right away that I'm almost paralyzed by choice. It will probably take me a few days to narrow down my focus.

Hope it goes well for you.  Best wishes.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on October 27, 2020, 03:16:14 AM
Thanks @friedmmj and @Ockhamist.

It's a strange feeling not studying for a particular reason. During my career, I have often spent weekends reading papers but that was always in the context of work. Now, I just randomly picked up a book on causal inference by Judea Pearl et al off my shelf and dove into it. While I was reading, I started to try to fit what I was reading into the context of my work. I then suddenly realized that I don't need to justify this activity in any way.

This is going to take some getting used to. While working, time was so precious the I only could afford to read what might be immediately relevant.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Tempname23 on November 13, 2020, 06:43:01 AM
Thirty years ago I worked for a physicist, his two cents on charging for research papers, research that has any taxpayer money involved, should be free to the public.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 14, 2020, 11:32:55 AM
We live in an interesting ara where there seems to be quite a lot of ‘unaffiliated, uncredentialed’ individuals interfacing with traditional research scientists. 
A lot of them are life-long fishermen, hunters or guides that have a lifetime of direct observations but no education past college (and many of them not even that).  Broadly speaking they’ve been incorporated into various research groups because the scientists needed i) land/boat access, ii) their skill set (guide/captain) and/or iii) their clout with other stakeholders.

The last one is actually the most common IME - if you want to involve stakeholders (e.g. fishermen) the most surefire way of doing this is to get the alpha high-liner to be a part of your group.  Sometimes its just for a short project with minimal involvement, but I’ve witnessed quite a few evolve into long-term partnerships with NGOs, Universities etc. Interesting to watch some give the speeches starting with something like “well here I am among all you PhDs and I dropped out of college after my second year...”

I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on December 14, 2020, 01:39:18 PM
Apologies for exhuming this necropost but here I am, finally ready to start my new life as in independent scholar :-)

I spent the first month of retirement clearing out my basement but now ready to dive into study. Being away from my computer has been very helpful, I feel mentally recharged. The only problem I face now is that there are so many things I want to get started with right away that I'm almost paralyzed by choice. It will probably take me a few days to narrow down my focus.

Hope it goes well for you.  Best wishes.

Time for a quick update - I have been having a glorious time as an independent scholar. Only problem on somedays is that there is so much I want to do that I get paralyzed by choice :-)

Currently I am:
- Reading Alan Turing's original 1936 paper
- Learning the Swift programming language with the intent of publishing a few iOS apps eventually.
- Working my way through Pearl's books on causal inference

Wish I had done this years ago!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: BicycleB on December 14, 2020, 02:29:40 PM
Exciting to hear!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 14, 2020, 08:18:53 PM
Apologies for exhuming this necropost but here I am, finally ready to start my new life as in independent scholar :-)

I spent the first month of retirement clearing out my basement but now ready to dive into study. Being away from my computer has been very helpful, I feel mentally recharged. The only problem I face now is that there are so many things I want to get started with right away that I'm almost paralyzed by choice. It will probably take me a few days to narrow down my focus.

Hope it goes well for you.  Best wishes.

Time for a quick update - I have been having a glorious time as an independent scholar. Only problem on somedays is that there is so much I want to do that I get paralyzed by choice :-)

Currently I am:
- Reading Alan Turing's original 1936 paper
- Learning the Swift programming language with the intent of publishing a few iOS apps eventually.
- Working my way through Pearl's books on causal inference

Wish I had done this years ago!

Turing's paper is a thing of extraordinary beauty.   Enjoy your freedom to really enjoy it!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 15, 2020, 02:25:09 PM
I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.
Why not pretend you're a sole proprietorship and register a dba as "The Rab-bit Mountain Research Institute" or something?
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 15, 2020, 07:02:39 PM
I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.
Why not pretend you're a sole proprietorship and register a dba as "The Rab-bit Mountain Research Institute" or something?

That would destroy all credibility to a peer-reviewed journal.   If you do not have an academic affiliation (a good four year college or university), or possibly an affiliation to a known think-tank or corporation, it's a challenge to be taken seriously.

Heck, even being affiliated with a community college gets sniffed at.  Not necessarily a deal killer, but it sure doesn't make it easier.   Same goes even moreso for an independent.   

It's harder.  But not impossible.   

But claiming a made-up affiliation like that will get you written off as a crackpot and/or BS artist reeeaaaaallll quick.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on December 16, 2020, 06:46:29 AM
You don't need to publish solely in peer-reviewed journals nowadays to have an impact!

Firstly, there is arrive.org for publishing pre-prints. if you have something interesting, it often gets picked up by the research community very quickly. In fast moving fields like AI, this has become the primary means for getting your work noticed.

Secondly, there are people like Gwern Branwen (https://www.gwern.net/index) who have made a career out of independently publishing articles on their own websites.

There are lots of cranks posting garbage but if you do have something interesting to say, you can get noticed.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 16, 2020, 08:18:27 AM
You don't need to publish solely in peer-reviewed journals nowadays to have an impact!

Firstly, there is arrive.org for publishing pre-prints. if you have something interesting, it often gets picked up by the research community very quickly. In fast moving fields like AI, this has become the primary means for getting your work noticed.

Secondly, there are people like Gwern Branwen (https://www.gwern.net/index) who have made a career out of independently publishing articles on their own websites.

There are lots of cranks posting garbage but if you do have something interesting to say, you can get noticed.

Yes, very much agree about that.   And as AI becomes extensive, it will actually become easier to be noticed (since the AI's will be able to efficiently comb the entire web for anything interesting.)

Actually I think publishing in peer-reviewed journals is a pretty poor way to have an impact.   Those journals are not widely read at all.   It's the respectable way to publish, and it's what you put on your CV to get university tenure, but it's not really the way to have an impact on anybody.   

And of course there's plenty of garbage in peer-reviewed journals as well.  Of course there's Sokol's famous paper on "transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity" as proof of that (https://physics.nyu.edu/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html) but there's plenty of other "peer-reviewed" unintentional garbage as well.   

Even some "peer-reviewed journals" are now nothing but pay to print scams.  I was actually solicited a couple of years ago to submit a paper for publication by the august "International Journal of Newfangled Methods in Mathematics and Computing Science."   For a modest fee, they were willing to "peer-review" and publish pretty much anything.   

Not even sure it would have had to be all that newfangled, but they might have charged extra to publish something oldtimey.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 16, 2020, 10:33:17 AM
You don't need to publish solely in peer-reviewed journals nowadays to have an impact!

Firstly, there is arrive.org for publishing pre-prints. if you have something interesting, it often gets picked up by the research community very quickly. In fast moving fields like AI, this has become the primary means for getting your work noticed.

Secondly, there are people like Gwern Branwen (https://www.gwern.net/index) who have made a career out of independently publishing articles on their own websites.

There are lots of cranks posting garbage but if you do have something interesting to say, you can get noticed.

Yes, agreed. If my paper gets rejected (for whatever reason) then Plan B is just to post it to arXiv.org and/or ResearchGate and be done with it. After all, it's not like I have to publish it - I'm already tenured at FIRE!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 16, 2020, 10:44:03 AM
You don't need to publish solely in peer-reviewed journals nowadays to have an impact!

Firstly, there is arrive.org for publishing pre-prints. if you have something interesting, it often gets picked up by the research community very quickly. In fast moving fields like AI, this has become the primary means for getting your work noticed.

Secondly, there are people like Gwern Branwen (https://www.gwern.net/index) who have made a career out of independently publishing articles on their own websites.

There are lots of cranks posting garbage but if you do have something interesting to say, you can get noticed.

Yes, very much agree about that.   And as AI becomes extensive, it will actually become easier to be noticed (since the AI's will be able to efficiently comb the entire web for anything interesting.)

Actually I think publishing in peer-reviewed journals is a pretty poor way to have an impact.   Those journals are not widely read at all.   It's the respectable way to publish, and it's what you put on your CV to get university tenure, but it's not really the way to have an impact on anybody.   

And of course there's plenty of garbage in peer-reviewed journals as well.  Of course there's Sokol's famous paper on "transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity" as proof of that (https://physics.nyu.edu/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html) but there's plenty of other "peer-reviewed" unintentional garbage as well.   

Even some "peer-reviewed journals" are now nothing but pay to print scams.  I was actually solicited a couple of years ago to submit a paper for publication by the august "International Journal of Newfangled Methods in Mathematics and Computing Science."   For a modest fee, they were willing to "peer-review" and publish pretty much anything.   

Not even sure it would have had to be all that newfangled, but they might have charged extra to publish something oldtimey.

I would definitely not pay to publish anything, which is the reason why I submitted it to a traditional journal. Most of the newer open access journals (including the peer-reviewed ones) require a "publication charge" anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, so I did not consider them (since the $$ would have to come out of my own pocket). So it seems that after those options, posting to a site like arXiv.org or ResearchGate, or a personal website, are the next-best options.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 17, 2020, 12:26:03 PM
I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.
Why not pretend you're a sole proprietorship and register a dba as "The Rab-bit Mountain Research Institute" or something?

That would destroy all credibility to a peer-reviewed journal.   If you do not have an academic affiliation (a good four year college or university), or possibly an affiliation to a known think-tank or corporation, it's a challenge to be taken seriously.

Heck, even being affiliated with a community college gets sniffed at.  Not necessarily a deal killer, but it sure doesn't make it easier.   Same goes even moreso for an independent.   

It's harder.  But not impossible.   

But claiming a made-up affiliation like that will get you written off as a crackpot and/or BS artist reeeaaaaallll quick.
I disagree (although obviously the name can't be silly). I know several people who formed an "institute" to publish their astrophysics research. In this case the "institute" was necessary to get grants, which is how they make a living, but they're definitely not being written off as crackpots for having created (not made up) their own affiliation. Although I guess in this case they were helped by the fact that they all had published at academic institutions before.

I reviewed quite a few papers in my research career and I wouldn't have written off someone for not having a university as their affiliation. Would I even have gone and googled the affiliation? Probably not. You can pretty quickly tell whether the paper is a crackpot paper or not without using affiliation as a clue and besides, as people have said, having a respectable affiliation isn't insurance against crackpottiness...
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 17, 2020, 02:43:17 PM
I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.
Why not pretend you're a sole proprietorship and register a dba as "The Rab-bit Mountain Research Institute" or something?

That would destroy all credibility to a peer-reviewed journal.   If you do not have an academic affiliation (a good four year college or university), or possibly an affiliation to a known think-tank or corporation, it's a challenge to be taken seriously.

Heck, even being affiliated with a community college gets sniffed at.  Not necessarily a deal killer, but it sure doesn't make it easier.   Same goes even moreso for an independent.   

It's harder.  But not impossible.   

But claiming a made-up affiliation like that will get you written off as a crackpot and/or BS artist reeeaaaaallll quick.
I disagree (although obviously the name can't be silly). I know several people who formed an "institute" to publish their astrophysics research. In this case the "institute" was necessary to get grants, which is how they make a living, but they're definitely not being written off as crackpots for having created (not made up) their own affiliation. Although I guess in this case they were helped by the fact that they all had published at academic institutions before.

I reviewed quite a few papers in my research career and I wouldn't have written off someone for not having a university as their affiliation. Would I even have gone and googled the affiliation? Probably not. You can pretty quickly tell whether the paper is a crackpot paper or not without using affiliation as a clue and besides, as people have said, having a respectable affiliation isn't insurance against crackpottiness...

The people you are talking about already had publication records.   Forming an institute because having such a structure is a requirement to apply for grants is one thing;  you're unlikely to be fooling or seen as trying to fool the granting agency.   Pretending to be an institute just to make yourself look publishable because you don't have a real affiliation or track record to fall back on is quite another.   

Maybe it makes no difference when you are the reviewer (in which case, props), but I can assure you that there are plenty of reviewers to whom affiliation makes quite a difference.   I'm not an astrophysicist but I have a hard time believing that in any field the journals give equal consideration to every submission, regardless of who the author is or where they are from.  They certainly don't do that in my field (mathematics.).   Name brand authors with name brand affiliations move to the top of the pile, while lesser known authors with lesser affiliations are going to drop farther down.   No reputation and no affiliation at all gets you lumped down in the slush pile with the community colleges, at best.

But if I'm wrong about this, if affiliation really makes no difference at all, then why even suggest inventing one in the first place? 

All that said, you're still much better off presenting yourself as an independent than as trying to pass yourself off as something you're not.   

For just one public and easily accessible example, Andrea Rossi's extensive publications in the "Journal of Nuclear Physics" sound pretty darn impressive, until you find out that that's just what he calls his blog.   Now, fair or unfair, Rossi has credibility problems for a lot of reasons, but this ain't helping him.  If you know nothing else about him, if all you know about him is that, doesn't just knowing that in and of itself give you an opinion about him?
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 17, 2020, 06:34:11 PM
It might be true if you tried to publish in Nature, but at least in astrophysics I've never heard of the main topical journals having rejected an article out of hand, without review. Maybe they do reject anyone without an affiliation and I've just never heard of it (since I don't know of anyone unaffiliated who tried to publish who wasn't a crackpot) but I'd be surprised.

Now, what's the purpose then? To project some sort of organization and dedication. It's one thing to not care about someone's affiliation and another to see a complete lack of affiliation and not get a pre-biased opinion.  I don't think it's "passing yourself off as something you're not" any more than anyone else who creates a single-founder LLC for some side venture. If nothing else, it shows that you cared enough to do it (and make a website.)

I mean, if you're going to hire a contractor, would you not be positively predisposed to taking someone more seriously if they appear to be a legitimate venture rather than just someone who woke up one day and decided they wanted to do plumbing?
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 18, 2020, 08:32:27 AM
I think I found a good alternative for my future paper submissions (if I choose to do any).

For many years I used a commercial software package for my work, at first when I worked for the company that published that software but also for other companies as a user. Since I don't have access to that software anymore and it's pretty expensive, I've started learning one of the open source alternatives for future work. The one that I'm learning is the oldest and most widely-used one and they have just started their own journal which is open access and has no publication charges. I think that could be a good way for me to publish my work - since it is from an open-source community, I feel that they will probably be more accepting of independent researchers.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 18, 2020, 11:44:11 AM
I think I found a good alternative for my future paper submissions (if I choose to do any).

For many years I used a commercial software package for my work, at first when I worked for the company that published that software but also for other companies as a user. Since I don't have access to that software anymore and it's pretty expensive, I've started learning one of the open source alternatives for future work. The one that I'm learning is the oldest and most widely-used one and they have just started their own journal which is open access and has no publication charges. I think that could be a good way for me to publish my work - since it is from an open-source community, I feel that they will probably be more accepting of independent researchers.
I'm confused, are you talking about the software used for preparing the paper or for doing the research? Most journals I've come into contact with accept submissions in LaTeX, but it seems weird to me to have a paper dedicated to only publishing results obtained with a specific tool.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 18, 2020, 11:54:14 AM
I think I found a good alternative for my future paper submissions (if I choose to do any).

For many years I used a commercial software package for my work, at first when I worked for the company that published that software but also for other companies as a user. Since I don't have access to that software anymore and it's pretty expensive, I've started learning one of the open source alternatives for future work. The one that I'm learning is the oldest and most widely-used one and they have just started their own journal which is open access and has no publication charges. I think that could be a good way for me to publish my work - since it is from an open-source community, I feel that they will probably be more accepting of independent researchers.
I'm confused, are you talking about the software used for preparing the paper or for doing the research? Most journals I've come into contact with accept submissions in LaTeX, but it seems weird to me to have a paper dedicated to only publishing results obtained with a specific tool.

Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about the software used to do the research. It's a type of engineering simulation software. The papers submitted to this journal could be devoted to extensions to the software, or physical results obtained using the software, or some combination of those. I'm sure that the papers could also contain analytical or experimental results as well, or comparisons/validations using other similar software, but I assume that any paper that you would submit there would have to use that specific software in some way to be relevant to their journal. Since it's a brand new journal, my guess is that there will be some flexibility in what they accept as it finds its identity.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 18, 2020, 12:19:49 PM
Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about the software used to do the research. It's a type of engineering simulation software. The papers submitted to this journal could be devoted to extensions to the software, or physical results obtained using the software, or some combination of those. I'm sure that the papers could also contain analytical or experimental results as well, or comparisons/validations using other similar software, but I assume that any paper that you would submit there would have to use that specific software in some way to be relevant to their journal. Since it's a brand new journal, my guess is that there will be some flexibility in what they accept as it finds its identity.
Ah, got it. It's not OpenFOAM, is it? ;-)
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 18, 2020, 12:50:48 PM
Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about the software used to do the research. It's a type of engineering simulation software. The papers submitted to this journal could be devoted to extensions to the software, or physical results obtained using the software, or some combination of those. I'm sure that the papers could also contain analytical or experimental results as well, or comparisons/validations using other similar software, but I assume that any paper that you would submit there would have to use that specific software in some way to be relevant to their journal. Since it's a brand new journal, my guess is that there will be some flexibility in what they accept as it finds its identity.
Ah, got it. It's not OpenFOAM, is it? ;-)

;-)
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 18, 2020, 01:11:30 PM
;-)
Funny, I was just reading about different CFD packages the other day and was reminded that figuring out how to use OpenFOAM for some problems I've been interested in investigating was one of these things that "hopefully I'll have time for in FIRE"...
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on December 18, 2020, 01:36:21 PM
;-)
Funny, I was just reading about different CFD packages the other day and was reminded that figuring out how to use OpenFOAM for some problems I've been interested in investigating was one of these things that "hopefully I'll have time for in FIRE"...

Feel free to PM me if you do decide to learn it and I'd be happy to point you to some of the better learning resources that I've found.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on December 18, 2020, 03:27:15 PM
It might be true if you tried to publish in Nature, but at least in astrophysics I've never heard of the main topical journals having rejected an article out of hand, without review. Maybe they do reject anyone without an affiliation and I've just never heard of it (since I don't know of anyone unaffiliated who tried to publish who wasn't a crackpot) but I'd be surprised.

Now, what's the purpose then? To project some sort of organization and dedication. It's one thing to not care about someone's affiliation and another to see a complete lack of affiliation and not get a pre-biased opinion.  I don't think it's "passing yourself off as something you're not" any more than anyone else who creates a single-founder LLC for some side venture. If nothing else, it shows that you cared enough to do it (and make a website.)

I mean, if you're going to hire a contractor, would you not be positively predisposed to taking someone more seriously if they appear to be a legitimate venture rather than just someone who woke up one day and decided they wanted to do plumbing?

Make whatever arguments you want, I'm not really looking to argue.  However things should or should not work, they work like they do.   

I think you gave someone advice that will do them harm if they follow it.   They can however, decide for themselves.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: lutorm on December 18, 2020, 03:37:20 PM
Feel free to PM me if you do decide to learn it and I'd be happy to point you to some of the better learning resources that I've found.
Cool, thanks. It's pretty far down on my to-do list but hopefully I'll get to it at some point.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on December 19, 2020, 03:25:51 AM
Cool, thanks. It's pretty far down on my to-do list but hopefully I'll get to it at some point.

Over the years I had built up a mile-long list of things I meant to look at "some day" and now that "some day" is here for me. Although computational fluid dynamics is not on that list :-)

My younger daughter however is interested in atmospheric sciences and may well wind up actually studying that.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: spjulep on February 13, 2021, 01:30:04 AM
I was happy to find this thread. I am less focused on publishing in journals (though of course that is an important way to contribute to the knowledge base) and more focused on applied research/field work. Basically, in my areas of interest, there is an enormous amount to explore and learn, and there are people and organizations eager to participate in the research, but not much funding to do so.

So far I am doing this through consulting. I have a notional budget and a reason to do the work, but I can spend way more time on it than someone who is chasing grants. But I'm not sure if this is a good idea in the long term. It's hard to partner with people who are working in the traditional model, and I feel limited to small-scale projects.

On the question on legitimacy, though people ask me what university I'm affiliated with, they seem to accept that I am working independently. I've also been lucky that my graduate school gives alumni decent access to journals for life. (By the way, I never got a PhD, for many reasons including the desire to work on more immediate/applied research, the need to make a living, and no interest in teaching or academic politics.)

I would love to hear from other people who are taking a similar approach.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on February 13, 2021, 07:30:12 AM
I think publishing is really where the university affiliation matters the most.

For the sorts of activities you are talking about I agree that affiliation is not so important.

We have some similarities in what we are doing ... sending you a PM.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: asauer on February 14, 2021, 11:07:57 AM
I'm very fortunate to live near several universities.  Several of these offer a "library patron" membership.  North Carolina State University's library patron membership is $60/ year.  I get access to all online journals/ books etc, plus I can attend all lectures/ events at the library for free or low cost.  It's awesome.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: rab-bit on March 01, 2021, 02:59:55 PM
We live in an interesting ara where there seems to be quite a lot of ‘unaffiliated, uncredentialed’ individuals interfacing with traditional research scientists. 
A lot of them are life-long fishermen, hunters or guides that have a lifetime of direct observations but no education past college (and many of them not even that).  Broadly speaking they’ve been incorporated into various research groups because the scientists needed i) land/boat access, ii) their skill set (guide/captain) and/or iii) their clout with other stakeholders.

The last one is actually the most common IME - if you want to involve stakeholders (e.g. fishermen) the most surefire way of doing this is to get the alpha high-liner to be a part of your group.  Sometimes its just for a short project with minimal involvement, but I’ve witnessed quite a few evolve into long-term partnerships with NGOs, Universities etc. Interesting to watch some give the speeches starting with something like “well here I am among all you PhDs and I dropped out of college after my second year...”

I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.

As a follow-up, my journal paper was accepted subject to some relatively minor revisions.
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: Ockhamist on March 01, 2021, 03:54:20 PM
We live in an interesting ara where there seems to be quite a lot of ‘unaffiliated, uncredentialed’ individuals interfacing with traditional research scientists. 
A lot of them are life-long fishermen, hunters or guides that have a lifetime of direct observations but no education past college (and many of them not even that).  Broadly speaking they’ve been incorporated into various research groups because the scientists needed i) land/boat access, ii) their skill set (guide/captain) and/or iii) their clout with other stakeholders.

The last one is actually the most common IME - if you want to involve stakeholders (e.g. fishermen) the most surefire way of doing this is to get the alpha high-liner to be a part of your group.  Sometimes its just for a short project with minimal involvement, but I’ve witnessed quite a few evolve into long-term partnerships with NGOs, Universities etc. Interesting to watch some give the speeches starting with something like “well here I am among all you PhDs and I dropped out of college after my second year...”


I just submitted my first paper as an "independent scholar" to a peer-reviewed journal. On the actual paper I listed my affiliation as an "Independent Engineering Consultant", even though I have little intention of doing any real consulting work. Anyway, I'm curious to see how my listed affiliation plays with the editors and reviewers. I'll report back once I know more.

As a follow-up, my journal paper was accepted subject to some relatively minor revisions.

That's terrific news rab-bit.  Congratulations!
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: BicycleB on March 01, 2021, 10:00:34 PM
Congrats, @rab-bit
Title: Re: Independent Scholars Watering Hole
Post by: 2sk22 on March 02, 2021, 02:42:09 AM

As a follow-up, my journal paper was accepted subject to some relatively minor revisions.

Congratulations! Your situation is likely to become a lot more common in the future as academic institutions cut staff.