I have mentioned elsewhere on this site, that the purpose of the website, WeRearInsects.com, is to advance insect rearing through raising awareness of all rearing issues. I have strived for the past 4 decades to contribute to science and entomology by doing research and teaching in insect rearing, and besides my writing books and book chapters, and papers, and besides my providing insect rearing workshops, and teaching classes online and in person, I have chosen to write a website to give myself the latitude to provide my ideas and the ideas of others all for the advancement of insect rearing and the people who practice this discipline.
However, I feel the need to express some thoughts and ideas regarding my site in the context of the site’s not being a peer-reviewed construct.
After the recent elections in the US, issues of truth, validity, and facts have come into the forefront more than ever before. There have been many cases of fake news. In fact, those of us who teach, have warned students for a long time that they need to be careful about “facts” from online inquiries. I use the Internet many times per day to get a take on various subjects. I have found that with subjects of which I have a base of knowledge, sometimes the information is excellent, and sometimes, it’s very inaccurate and can be misleading. Therefore, my warning to students is that they use their greatest resource for getting an accurate (truthful?) picture is to use critical thinking and multiple source inquiries. Part of the critical thinking that I urge is asking the question, “who is providing the information?” and “what does the information provider have to gain?” Along with these critical thinking questions, if the student/scholar wants to add a layer of protection (a “truthfulness coating”), she or he can do some comparisons from various sources. Often, however, the comparisons lead to the phenomenon where multiple sources say the exact same thing. This parroting of information may well be a sign that the information should be further questioned, rather than being taken at face value.
So now, all this being said, what about the information that readers find on my website, which you are now visiting? I have cautioned readers that this site presents my perspectives about insect rearing and related issues. As much as I try to always be objective in my teaching, my scientific research, my reviewing other people’s works, and all other ways that I deal with insect rearing, I am still human and am bound to have slants or biases in the information and explanations that I present. When I am writing papers or funding applications, I have reviewers who are scientific experts, and they can do some of the vetting. Then, once the works are published, the scientific community can come along with criticism and commentary, especially if they have tested the information that I am providing. This is why peer-reviewed works are given so much importance in the scientific community, especially where people are applying for funds, for jobs, or for promotions.
In the context of openness, I always encourage readers to offer opinions and to ask for clarification of my points. However, to keep the site free of distractions, such as commercial messages or opinions that do not provide constructive substance to the ideas and information that I am putting forward, I screen the comments and questions, and I post all the ones that help what is in my opinion the advancement of insect rearing.
So please read my pages and posts critically, and give me feedback about what is helpful, what is incorrect, and what needs clarification.