Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Article in The Scientist

How to win the war against cancer by Frank L Douglas and Robert E Litan, The Scientist, November 5, 2008 [free registration is required]. Excerpt:
We now know from many areas of science -- including cancer research -- that collaborative research by investigators with different but complementary areas of expertise are more likely to crack difficult problems than "lone rangers" who work in isolation. With more cooperation and less competition in cancer research, the war against cancer is much more likely to be won.
Over the past month, this short opinion article has attracted a number of comments from readers. An example: "Competition vs. collaboration" by an anonymous poster, November 10, 2008. Excerpt:
Therefore big bucks should be spent by the NIH on big projects, but these projects should have a purely supportive role (core facilities, tissue banks, high-throughput assay systems, result databases) and the people involved should be paid enough to make up for decreased career opportunities, which working in such supportive roles would entail. Enticing people to collaborate just because there is money in collaborating is going to just result in a lot of people flocking around the trough and pretending they have some common goal, while in fact they will be doing disparate things under a makeshift common banner.
Another example of a comment: "Doubtful strategy" by Rainer Zahlten, November 7, 2008. Excerpt:
This "new" strategy is bound to fail. Why? Because enforced cooperation for the sake of obtaining research grants is counterproductive to a physiologic matching of research interests, including a viable chemistry between participating scientists.
Thanks to Lisa Willemse, who noticed this article.

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