PEOPLE WITH LACK OF ORIGINAL RESEARCH IDEAS (PLORI)
People with Lack of Original Research Ideas in Linguistics (PLORI), is a national support group for postgraduates and early-career researchers in the broad field of linguistics who are affected by the negative psychosocial, physical and academoprospective effects of Lack of Original Research Syndrome (LOR-Syndrome). While relatively unknown until the late 90s, a high concentration of repetitive and pointless research published in inaccessible places, together with a lack of self-representation of many early-career researchers, has led to a sizeable increase in the proportion of postgraduates and other early-career researchers who have only found out towards the middle or end of their own petite niche projects that those projects lack any originality whatsoever and have been covered in exactly the same way by another relatively unknown recent PhD or post-doctoral researcher, who—lacking any kind of web-presence and failing to use any open pre-print archives or well-known journals which one may have a chance to access from the subscription in one’s university—has managed to keep their results secret until the affected person has fully committed to doing the same research, and is deeply convinced that they have a good idea. Subsequent discovery of such a source commonly leads to the development of LOR-Syndrome in otherwise healthy, developing academicians.
The only way to really address the fundamental problem lies with changes to the supervisory role and the publishing industry. Supervisors should make sure that their supervisees are prevented from further spreading LOR-Syndrome, and the government should encourage practices that counteract the trends underlying the spread of LOR-Syndrome. Measures to be taken include:
These measures ought to be accompanied by a large increase in funding and security for current researchers at risk of being affected by LOR-Syndrome.
- explicitly instructing young researchers in academic best practices
- extolling the benefits of open access and pre-print archives
- explaining the importance and seriousness of self-promotion and presence on the world wide web
- raising awareness of the health- and career-related dangers of sitting at home alone, crying and eating ice-cream
In the meantime, PLORI seeks to support those who have inevitably been affected by LOR-Syndrome, directly or indirectly, by organising support groups at the local and national level in which people affected by LOR-Syndrome can share their experiences and help each other to recognise the last spark of self-respect and academic hope within, before the total extinction of all remaining academic ambition—which often is the sad reality for LOR-Syndrome sufferers who do not find this sort of support.
PLORI: Stop crying alone; let’s whine about it together!