The Least Interesting Unit: A New Concept for Enhancing One’s Academic Career Opportunities

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Motivated by a current development in the physics community, this paper introduces the notion of a least interesting unit (LIU) in research as an investigation that is just interesting enough to pursue. A new general maxim for science is then that a researcher should pursue as many LIUs as possible. Although fulfilling this maxim enhances one’s perspective for a career in the present publish-or-perish academic world, in particular when simultaneously publishing one’s results in the form of as many least publishable units as possible, this paper concludes that it is an example of an unethical practice: it may undermine scientific progress, it may lead to a waste of valuable resources, and it may contribute to an erosion of norms and values in science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1837-1841
Number of pages5
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2016

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