I don’t often quote U.S presidents, but the following quote from President Teddy Roosevelt nails a very important point regarding the (empty) critique of critics. I’ll quote it in full and discuss it after.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Don’t be discouraged by those who criticize your research without having spent the time needed to properly understand it. Don’t let those standing on the sidelines direct your research; or even worse, be affected by the empty criticism of those cold and timid souls who frequent research conferences only to criticize the work of others, having only spent 5 minutes to understand it.

YES to constructive criticism that help us improve our work, everything else goes to the dustbin where it properly belongs.

Abderisak Adam