Some Vital Academic Research!
Duke University professor Dan Ariely is engaged in research on sex toys, and it has a few people upset.
This reinforces my view that faculty research ought to be put on a free-market footing. That is, the norm should be a full teaching load (let’s say 12 hours, although — speaking from experience — it’s not hard to do more), but if a professor can get sufficient outside funding for a research project to be able to buy a reduced teaching load, fine.
That would lead to far less waste than the prevailing system, which has a low teaching norm and assumes that professors will devote their time to useful research. What we get from that system is a lot of research that’s done just for the sake of producing research. We should put academic research to the test of the market: Will people voluntarily pay for it?