What has pollination got to do with Assured Science

Assured Science, Inc. is a non-profit organization that is working to establish a new system for scientific research. This system enables scientists to self-sustain their research projects, on their own terms, for as long as they want, on any subject matter, and produce superior data most efficiently. Moreover, scientists would avoid all the funding, mechanism, and data problems normally encountered in the traditional system.

Although it is now designed to function as a satellite system to the traditional system, Assured Science could very well become the primary system in the future for both basic and applied scientific research because all data (not just those with economic value) would be highly validated, well integrated with other data in the field, and very organized for easy study.

The foremost task for Assured Science at this juncture is forming a good team of co-founders, advisers, and supporters. This team would be responsible for taking a new concept (for which a patent application has been filed) and developing it into a fully operational research system. Almost every step in this translation process would be an interesting experiment, as methods from different fields have to be adapted or new ones devised.

As the Assured Science system covers all aspects of scientific research, the team would require diverse leadership and management skills. Thus, I am seeking teammates who are from very different professional areas (science, engineering, business, law, journalism, and policy), have a good grasp of their field’s essential and enduring attributes, and are able to integrate them seamlessly with the same attributes of other fields.

But how do I go about seeking such people from areas that are outside my domain of existence and experience? Those people would not know me, as I am not famous or renowned. I could introduce my effort and myself, but it would have to be in a message so short (in order to escape the delete button) that contains mere statements without substance. I would not respond to such messages, so why should I expect responses from others?

As is my wont when confronted with difficult issues, I turned to life for placing the problem in proper context and coming up with ideas for finding solutions. In this case, pollination helped me settle on a strategy to find people in different areas who could help develop the Assured Science concept into a fully operational scientific research system.

Plant pollination is accomplished by diverse means. Each means is in effect a different strategy to find suitable mates. Let us first consider the means that uses specialized agents such as insects and birds. These animals possess anatomical structures and behavioral features that are well suited for finding and pollinating conspecific plants. Thus, the birds and the bees represent highly specialized agents that can accomplish very defined tasks provided they are well compensated for their services (through food). Seeking such specialized agents would be a good strategy for organizations that know exactly what they want or have enough resources to pay well for accomplishing their tasks. Those organizations can expect the specialized agencies they hire to have the wherewithal to deliver the desired action or product.

Now consider plants that do not have the means to attract specialized pollination agents or are better off not confined to the way such agents work. They generally use an agent that is relatively non-specific and inexpensive yet quite reliable: wind. The coverage is far, wide, and more or less unbiased (thanks to frequent changes in wind direction). If there are receptive conspecific plants around, they will be found sooner or later. This strategy is more appropriate for resource-limited entrepreneurs like me who can neither afford specialized agencies to find the best possible teammates nor know who might be good teammates and where they exist.

The Internet can be considered as being similar to ‘wind,’ if specific web addresses are not targeted. Therefore, I decided to create the Assured Science website as an entity (like a plant) that can be the source of information regarding the effort underway to develop a newer and better system for scientific research. The purpose is to elicit responses from people who come across the website and are willing to become actively involved in the effort.

Obviously, using the wind pollination strategy to seek co-founders, advisors, and supporters would result in fewer and slower responses. But that might be more effective in the long run because people who respond are more likely to believe in the cause. Furthermore, and equally importantly, they can be expected to have made the decision to become involved most freely and privately, taking as much time as they needed to study the detailed information provided at the website, however many times as they wished. There would not be any external source of compulsion, only the one that is internal to the responder, the most useful kind for this effort at this juncture.

If I receive a response that also reveals a good knowledge of the website (particularly the seven Essays and the Blogs), it would mean that that person has taken the time to explore the effort in depth, which would be a good indicator of motivation. I believe that a high level of motivation in all teammates is essential because establishing a new system for scientific research is neither easy nor simple. Otherwise, it would have been done already, going by all the articles in technical and general publications discussing the serious problems in the traditional system that are undermining scientific research.

I have laid bare my motivations in the Seven Essays (on the Founding page) and the Blogs (on the Blog page) at the Assured Science website. For composing those Essays and Blogs, I posed myself the following question. If I encountered over the Internet an effort of immense scope that is initiated by a person who is neither renowned nor famous, what would convince me that it is genuine and serious so that I can consider becoming involved?

After much thought I concluded that it would be sincerity of the effort, grasp of the subject, and purity of the purpose. As a consequence, the Blogs and Essays are lengthy and interspersed with sufficient personal and technical details for assessment of what compelled me to pursue this effort, why I am committed to it, and what Assured Science is set to accomplish. I am hoping that kindred spirits in the vast expanse of the Internet will read them and reach out to join the effort.

People who would be most useful for the effort are other scientists with superior strengths or different backgrounds than mine, computer programmers, scientific research administrators in federal and private agencies, business administrators, finance experts, marketing specialists, science publishers, policy makers, and supporters with other kinds of expertise who believe that the power of scientific research needs to be better harnessed for the benefit of society.

It is wonderful if you are reading this blog as a potential candidate for becoming a co-founder, an adviser, or a supporter. However, if you are constrained from becoming actively involved in the effort but still would want to help in some capacity, please contact us. Maybe we can together explore how you could still help the effort, working within your capacity and opportunity. If that is also not possible, may be you could be our ‘boom box’ for broadcasting this effort to change scientific research enterprise for the better. Please share our web link with your family, friends, and colleagues who could be interested in this effort.

The ultimate goals of Assured Science are very simple: retain more people in scientific research now and attract even more people into it in the future so that more and better data can be produced using the available resources most efficiently. Hence, its motto is ‘More scientists and better science with less money.’ Compare these goals and the motto to the current situation in the traditional system, which is beset with so many problems that if its calls for more money were heeded it would only end up adversely affecting the ultimate goal of all scientific research activities, i.e., good data (the funding, mechanism, and data problems in the traditional system are discussed in the Seven Essays on the Founding page of our website).

Few concepts have served our society as well as the scientific method, which is essentially a state of mind that is adept at finding the cause(s) or explanation(s) for an effect or a phenomenon. The method’s power lies in its simplicity and commonality: almost anyone can train to become good at it and all research projects use it. Combine these features with the facts that there are virtually no limits to scientific research, both in terms of subjects and the approaches to study them, and that most people generally like to do things that are valued or validated by others in some manner (naturally, as we are the most social species on Earth).

It is clear that as more people become involved in research, the data output would not just increase but also become more diverse and robust - therefore more useful. Provided two critical problems are solved: 1) how to financially sustain a large, ideally unlimited, number of scientists conducting research; and 2) how to reliably control the quality of data generated by a vast number of people with different capabilities and motivations.

Assured Science has found solutions to those problems so that anyone interested in scientific research can self-sustain a career in it, conducting research on any subject (basic, applied, or amusing), on their own terms, as long as they want, and generate vastly superior data most efficiently. Thus, the fruits and adventure of scientific research would be accessible to all who are interested in science, rather than being restricted to just a select few individuals as it is today. Assured Science would also create and support a far more diverse array of science-based careers and economic activities than those in existence now. Overall, the Assured Science system for scientific research would deliver the maximum possible benefits from science to society in the most efficient, vibrant, and rapid manner.

If you would like to become involved in revolutionizing the way scientific research is conducted please find out more about Assured Science by visiting our website www.assuredscience.org. And contact us to discuss how you could help the effort.

Thank you very much.

Cedric Wesley

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