Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Conversation on Competition in Science

There is some conversation going on in the science world about competition, so you may want to follow this discussion in the NYT this week and last.

What if scientists, instead of rushing to publish or perish, chose to cooperate? Sean Cutler decided to do “a little experiment,” as he calls it, and you can see the results in the forthcoming issue of Science. "I can already anticipate that a lot of people will say, “This is a bad message. You are painting an unflattering portrait of scientists.” To this I respond: Most of the scientists I know are very good, passionate and ethical people who behave. But some don’t, and these unethical types gain an unfair advantage that needs to be addressed so that competitive forces can work their magic most effectively. Good ethics = good competition. They are not in opposition."

John Tierney asks in his NYT blog called TierneyLab: "How widespread do you believe this problem is? Have you seen this sort of unethical competition in your field? Ever engaged in it yourself?"