Funding: Berezin to Tivol (Dec26)

Keith Robison robison at
Wed Dec 27 09:12:12 EST 1995

Alexander Berezin (berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA) wrote:

: I was always for a healthy ballance between 'targetted' and 'untagretted' 
: resaerech (with all the retorical uncertainty often attached to these
: terms). Being (mostly) 'fundamental' researcher myself, I am generally
: rathar sceptical (if not cynic) of much of 'targeted' research (on
: the basis of numerous observations).

: The problem though is that for as long as the present research grant
: systeem lacks the mechanism(s) to bracket (hedge) peer review and lacks
: the degree of oppenness minimally needed for the process, it can't
: achieve proper ballance between both categories and chaotically
: (often hysterically) jumps from one extereme to the other. It is 
: bound to continue in this mode unless the brick wall of APR (anonymous 
: peer review) and fallacy of 'expert model' will be broken. 
: Fortunately, more and more people beging to undersatnd that this
: is the prime source of the problem (not "underfunding").  

Okay, back to reality land.  APR has almost _zero_ to do with the
balance between pure and applied research.  Is it APR which decided
that the Army should get $100's specifically for breast cancer?
That large sums be earmarked for AIDS?  That money be earmarked for
the Human Genome Project, alternative fuels research, the Superconducting
Supercollider, etc?  

NO!  It was a system of Open Non-Peer Review called the U.S. Congress
(and I'm sure the Parliments of Canada, Japan, and Western Europe 
work similarly).  

You'd do your cause much more good if you'd be a little more careful
with the facts.

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Genetics / HHMI

robison at 

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