Can we make scientific research sustainable?


With the current popularity of sustainable goods, including food, fuel, energy etc, it seems like a great time to discuss the UN-sustainability of the current system for scientific enterprise.

This is a great interview with Marc Kirshner about a recent article he recently published in PNAS along with a powerhouse list of authors (nobel laureate included) about the systemic flaws in scientific research, including why it is not sustainable. Interview here. Original PNAS Article here.

The take away point is that the system is broken and is completely unsustainable. The interview and article also include some ideas for how the system can be changed for the better. The interview is amazing quote after amazing quote about the problems with the research system, but also includes amazing quotes about how we can fix it. A few examples:

“And science is more expensive. Science is going very, very well in many ways. But that has created a situation where there’s a tremendous amount of stress in the system. And the stress itself is operating not to support the best science, but actually to discourage some of the best science.”

“Competition itself at some level is a good thing. But when people’s livelihood depends on getting the grant, it undermines a lot of the cooperative nature of science, the open and sharing nature of science.”

“By hampering basic science you inhibit translational science. I am just not convinced that the barrier to new developments in science is at the translational level; it’s really at the more fundamental level.”

One thought on “Can we make scientific research sustainable?

  1. Pingback: How do we gauge scientific productivity? | CauseScience

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