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January 30, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(5):457. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020050049018

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Since this reward and those linked with research grants (travel, secretarial help, and freedom from teaching) combine lucre with glory, it is not surprising that inside the university and on its industrial and other fringes the practice or pretense of research should have become a compulsion. Thousands of young men are at work on little papers; thousands more are wracking their brains to think of an experiment or study. Most of them worry more about the acceptability of the subject in academic eyes than about their chances of doing and saying something useful, that is, few care about the fitness of the matter and none about the readability of the results. "Communication" occurs by good luck, while everybody groans ritually at the bad writing, excessive length, and prevailing insignificance of what the journals print. In a word, this army of researchers by conviction or impressment are technically pedants.—J. Barzun, The

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