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Metrics, Incentives, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Science

Josh Nicholson

Josh Nicholson is the co-founder and CEO of Scite, a deep learning platform that evaluates the reliability of scientific claims by citation analysis. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of the Winnower (acquired 2016) and CEO of Author (acquired 2018 by Atypon), two companies aimed at improving how scientists publish and collaborate. He holds a PhD in cell biology from Virgina Tech, where his research focused on the effects of aneuploidy on chromosome segregation in cancer.

In this episode, we dove deep into metrics: Which stats should you optimize for to progress in your career as a scientist? And how can this inevitable culture of optimizing for one-dimensional metrics hurt the pursuit for truth? Josh told us about Scite, a tool that helps researchers make sense of the literature by differentiating between supporting and contrasting citations of a papers, versus just surfacing the race citation count. We discussed how alternative metrics like Site can create a more positive, constructive optimization game.

We also talked about the culture of innovation in the scientific ecosystem that is supposed to be the cradle of new ideas: does the ecosystem really encourage innovative, new, maybe even controversial ideas? And what's it like trying to change the legacy system as a new startup?

Listen to Josh's Future of Science Seminar here!