Getting (very) meta part 3: Generating funding for future work

Noah Haber

The CLAIMS study took a team of 22 highly skilled people across multiple institutions about 800 person-hours carefully reading, reviewing, rating, and debating papers, not to mention the countless hours spent designing the review tool and protocol, managing the study, doing the analysis, and writing the manuscript. That is a difficult operation in the best of circumstances, but as shown near the top of the published article.

“Funding: The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.”

The entire CLAIMS study was done without any financial support, with all effort and data being donated for free. In part, the lack of funding helps keep us away from possible conflicts of interest, real or imagined, as we criticize ourselves and our peers. However, doing reviews at this scale without funding is a trick we could probably pull off only once.

We designed CLAIMS to stand on its own, but also act as a launching pad for a series of much larger projects. Our next steps – including measuring how and where scientific information is being distorted and designing better tools to do that kind of review at scale – require funding. If we are lucky, CLAIMS and this site will help generate interest in the topic through academic and social media. One constant feature of social media is that people talking about what is wrong with social media. Social media drives media press coverage. Press coverage of scientific studies may improve chances of funding future studies. Our study explores the state of health science at the point of social media consumption. At the very least, that it is no coincidence.

Put another way, CLAIMS is a health science study which critically examines health science in social media, while also designed to itself be consumed in social media to help fund further studies through the same mechanisms causing problems in the first place. Exploring and embracing that irony is one reason why we have this blog. We are experimenting in the intersection of social media and science using our own study, and documenting the process as transparently as possible.

If you are interested in what we are doing, and want to help out in any way, get in touch! We are looking for all kinds of people, whether you are a journalist, a scientist, a social media mogul, or a potential funder.

Thoughts and comments welcome