Standing on the shoulders of slugs: open or closed protocols?


“I forgot to check the gardening contractor’s UKAS accreditation.”

The inspection cartel pressurises victims into buying goods and services from other accredited companies and checking their certificates regularly.  Ostensibly, this assures quality through traceability.  More importantly, the marketplace coercion ensures growth of ISO accreditation by excluding competitors that would compete with the inspection cult on terms more relevant to customers. 

In practice, the cartel pushes official control labs towards buying the expensive methods that contribute to the ISO’s finances.  It worked hard against good methods that were freely available within professional networks by saying they were not available to the public. 

Contrast the approach of the closed inspection industry with the open research community, for example, Nature‘s Protocol Exchange

The slow movement of ISO committees is quite different to the availability of hundreds of protocols that can be commented upon by users.  It shows the helpful, responsive way that research can work.  The inspection cartel could not exist in this environment because it drives scientific progress rather than enabling bureaucratic stagnation.   With ISO inspectionism, lip-service to advancement is tacked on at the end through the demand to show records of “preventive, corrective and improvement actions”.  Originally voted against by Japan among others, the ISO standard has been playing catch-up with Japan since its 2005 revision where this requirement appeared.  

So we record things that have little significance but provide fodder for the inspection…

Was science built by standing on the shoulders of inquisitive giants or of slugs that assist in the process of decay?

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This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Cartel, Forensic science, Laboratory medicine, Science and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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