The IMeRG (Interdisciplinary MetaResearch Group) sits across the School of BioSciences and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne.
We do metaresearch, sometimes also called metascience.
“the scientific study of science itself” (Munafo et al, 2017)
Many fields have studied the practices of science, including history, philosophy, sociology and psychology. Metaresearch is distinguished from other approaches by its goal: investigating scientific practice in order to improve confidence in scientific claims as understood by practising scientists. Unlike other approaches to studying science, metaresearch is internally focussed – but we think this has a big impact on everyone.
Contemporary problems with scientific research practice are not specific to any one discipline. Understanding how to change practice – and what scientific practice means -definitely draws on many fields. IMeRG is currently includes researchers with expertise in the following areas:
What’s the picture in the header? It’s by Dr Seuss’ (with obvious modifications, by Ashley Barnett) and shows the Hawtch-Hawtcher watchers. (The relevance to our work was brought to our attention by the wonderful Neil Thomason.)
“Oh, the jobs people work at! Out west near Hawtch-Hawtch there’s a Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watcher, his job is to watch. Is to keep both his eyes on the lazy town bee, a bee that is watched will work harder you see. So he watched and he watched, but in spite of his watch that bee didn’t work any harder not mawtch. So then somebody said “Our old bee-watching man just isn’t bee watching as hard as he can, he ought to be watched by another Hawtch-Hawtcher! The thing that we need is a bee-watcher-watcher!”. Well, the bee-watcher-watcher watched the bee-watcher. He didn’t watch well so another Hawtch-Hawtcher had to come in as a watch-watcher-watcher! And now all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on watch watcher watchering watch, watch watching the watcher who’s watching that bee. You’re not a Hawtch-Watcher you’re lucky you see!”