I'm looking for reading on a problem within life-sciences regarding collecting more data, and not designing better experiments. This is a sandboxing question, and also I wonder about appropriateness as well:

I am an engineer working in the molecular neuroscience field, hence getting exposure in both solving practical problems (how to image fish brain) and molecular bio questions (do neurons X connect to neurons Y?). Our field spend a lot of time highlighting reproducibility crisis but I don't seem to be able to find references or writing on the following problem of resources allocation:

  • funding experiments vs
  • funding better experimental design and data shepherding

As I see it today (from the perspective of R1 US institutions) most resources are given to independent professors who then give it to students to work on either novel problems (which leads to waste of time because students are not professionals yet) or well-established problems (which leads to producing a lot of new data about old molecule X that nobody cares about)

Which are the philosophers/writers who discuss the value of experimental design versus doing the experiments?

Is it appropriate to ask on the main site about references that discuss similar problems?

2 Answers 2


I am not knowledgeable enough in the field to give a definite answer, but I, personally, would deem this to be a perfectly valid reference request (if this answer turns out to get some up votes and be approved, don't forget to tag accordingly when posting the question on the main site).

It is quite specific and as far as I understand, the philosophy of science as come quite the way in that last, say, two decades with respect to discussing fundamental problems of experimentation, science as a money-dependent endeavor, and experimental design. I am pretty sure there is something on that particular question out there as well.

Specifically, it is a very interesting problematisation at a junction point between critical science and ethics since this basically comes down to the value judgement of how to allocate resources.


Any question regarding the philosophical basis of a topic and references pertaining to is absolutely fair game. The notion of what constitutes science falls under the umbrella of the tag "philosophy-of-science", and questions of any crises regarding reproducibility is "epistemological". STEM, in particular, has some well-worn methods for sorting truth from falsity, and in the question of the empirical portion of STEM, just what constitutes valid scientific methods is a question abutted to notions like "underdetermination", "empirical evidence", "falsifiability", "confirmation", and "reproducibility". Before you post, you'd best read through SEP: Reproducibility of Scientific Results to fine-tune your question and invoke citations if you're looking for a more specific answer. The more specific the question, the more likely you are to get the answer you're seeking.

Good luck!


Suggested tags: epistemology -> philosophy-of-science -> empirical evidence

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