A Few Words About Us


Many of our Fellows have decades of experience in these communities.  We have come together in recognition of the need to reintroduce the notion of always asking questions to the practice of science.  In the specialized, rush to publish, get funded or perish world of science in the 21st century, all too often initial findings are presented as if they are profound truths.  The researchers involved are too busy seeking money and publications to ask the fundamental questions regarding assumptions, constraints, affordances that might reveal a more promising pathway or an unrecognized limitation.

We are witnessing the proliferation of “sloppy science” – research that cuts corners, overlooks errors, or presents premature conclusions as definitive facts. Sloppy science encompasses a spectrum spanning from unconscious cognitive biases to deliberate unethical actions by researchers. It also includes the enabling behaviors of reviewers, editors, universities, funders, industry sponsors, media commentators, and policy actors that allow substandard research to propagate through the scientific system.

Recent years have seen an alarming rise in retractions and corrections in top journals due to manipulated data, deliberate fraud, and questionable research practices. This erosion of trust in science has far-reaching implications for the reliability of published findings, the stewardship of research funds, and public faith in the scientific enterprise. Sloppy science risks misleading the public, distorting academic discourse, wasting scarce resources, and undermining evidence-based policy-making. Its tolerance reflects systemic issues in modern science's institutions and incentive structures.

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Refective practice, increased curation, and a return to asking questions are necessary steps to combat sloppy science's pervasive influence.

This perspective lies behind our work.

The Team

Michael Lissack                                                      

Dr. Lissack is the Executive Director of the Second Order Science Foundation, the immediate past (2014-2020) President of the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC), the executive director emeritus of the Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (ISCE) and Professor of Design and Innovation at Tongji University (Shanghai).  He is an expert in the qualitative side of complex systems management including applied cognitive science and applied philosophy. Since 1995, he founded several non-profit research institutes, launched an international Ph.D. program in corporate anthropology, wrote a half dozen books, and twice been a candidate for public office.

Executive Director

Brenden Meagher                                                    

Brenden Meagher was most recently the Knowledge Management Coordinator for Jhpiego, a global health care consultancy affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.  Mr. Meagher leads the Foundation’s initiative focused on increasing the effective agency of health care consumers.  He has an undergraduate science degree from Sargent College at Boston University where he focused on Public Health Implementation and Systems Thinking.  He also worked with the  Institute for Technology and Global Health where he led a global team in research and writing process for a communication project regarding public health and artificial intelligence.

Research Fellow

Hugo Letiche                                                           

Hugo Letiche was the Director of the ‘DBA PhD program’ at the UvH Utrecht until his retirement; some fifty PhDs were completed under his supervision. Thereafter, he was Adjunct Professor at Leicester University teaching research methods and ethics to their part-time distant-learning students (mainly from Africa and the Middle East) during their on campus summer school. He is a member of LITEM the research school in organization, accountability and ethics of L’Universite Paris-Saclay. Organizational & cultural theory, contemporary continental philosophy, (auto-)ethnography, and complexity theory are his primary research interests.


Robert Martin                                                          

Robert J. Martin is a composer, licensed psychologist in Missouri, and professor emeritus at Truman State University. He completed a doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an interdisciplinary thesis guided by Heinz von Foerster and Herbert Brün. He has a life-long interest in composition, creativity, learning, psychotherapy, constructivism, and cybernetics/systems science. Prof. Martin is a member of the American Psychological Association, Glasser Institute for Choice Theory, and the American Society for Cybernetics.


Suzanne Martin

Suzanne Martin received a B.A. in Physics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,

an M.A. in Biology from Truman State University, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Purdue

University. Dr. Martin worked in Vitamin K research at Kirksville College of Osteopathic

Medicine and did field testing of diagnostics at Stewart Agricultural Services. She taught as

Visiting Assistant Professor at Westminster College, as Adjunct Graduate Faculty at Truman

State University and as Professor of Biology at Moberly Area Junior College. She has presented

to the National Science Teachers Association, the Association of College and University Biology

Educators, and the American Society for Cybernetics.



Andrew Rixon

Dr Andrew Rixon is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership at the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation within the Griffith Business School. Graduating with one of the first PhDs in Complexity Science from the University of Queensland in 2000, he has gained global experience in consulting, executive education, innovation, leadership and change. From working with internet start-ups in the USA and Netherlands, to being a founding director of consulting companies working with corporate, government, not-for-profit, tertiary, and healthcare sectors in Australia, UK and China, the complex systems perspective has influenced and informed his leadership development work. Dr. Rixon has a special focus and deep expertise in health systems leadership working in particular to help emergency physicians become better medical leaders who can innovate and re-imagine their medical departments, hospitals and health systems.


Sascha Rixon

Sascha Rixon is an experienced project officer, consultant, facilitator, educator, and well-being practitioner with over 15 years' experience working in management consulting and teaching and learning in the higher education sector. Most recently, she transitioned to working in the public sector as a Project Officer, Leadership and Learning for the Queensland Public Sector Commission.



Ron Schultz                                                     

Ron Schultz was introduced to the world of Complex Adaptive Systems during an interview of Nobel Physicist, Murray Gell-Mann, who among many things told him everything you know is wrong. That response came when Ron asked him “Where in the quark, the most fundamental particle of matter, does creativity exist?”  In the 25 odd books Ron Schultz has had published, from Open Boundaries – Creating Business Innovation through Complexity to Living Out of the Moment – 100 Ways to Obtain Happiness through Total Denial, and the hundreds of national and International articles published, Ron has attempted to explore the unseen. This exploration has led to one over-riding awareness – if I can’t live with an open heart as I live with an open mind, nothing new arises.



Our Focus

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Improving research quality by ingraining the importance of rigor, transparency, and critical thinking from an early career stage. This includes clearly communicating what constitutes solid vs questionable practices, rejecting papers with clear methodological weaknesses or exaggerated claims not backed by data, robustly challenging new findings and always ensuring appropriate caveats around limitations are stated.

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Integrate reflective practice into the scientific method itself alongside hypothesis testing via pre-registration reports, consideration of limitations and potential biases, and proactive ongoing review of emergent ethical issues. Make conscious reflection a consistent part of the training curriculum and ongoing professional development for scientists. Include reflective writing, discussion groups, and engagement with philosophy of science, ethics, and policy experts to broaden considerations beyond technical scientific questions.

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All patients should be empowered to manage their health proactively. By  developing individuals' literacy around their bodies, common conditions, lifestyle skills, treatment options, socioeconomic influences, and care rights, people can progressively build the foundation to interact with the system from an informed stance. Equipped with improved understanding and tools to clarify their priorities, everyday health consumers will be ready to ask meaningful questions, grasp recommendations, discuss concerns, and make care decisions aligned with their values.