Funding and Orwell

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Thu Dec 28 10:26:31 EST 1995



On Thu, 28 Dec 1995, Ferland Louis H. wrote:

> On 26 Dec 1995, Alexander Berezin wrote:
> 
> > Date: 26 Dec 1995 19:21:51 -0800
> > From: Alexander Berezin <berezin at mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>
> > To: bioforum at net.bio.net
> > Subject: Multiple Funding Sources
> > 
> > 
> > (new comment in the end, some stuff deleted - Alex Berezin)
> > 
> > On 26 Dec 1995, William Tivol wrote:
> > 
> > > Alexander Berezin (berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA) wrote:
> > ....... 
> > 
> > > : I suggest that BASIC research of all kinds (incl. biomedical)
> > > : be supported on equal footing with other areas through the
> > > : single source - National Endowment for Sciences and Arts.
> > > : (after all, medicine was "art" in ancient times). This will
> > > : provide long needed restrain for strengthening and focusing
> > > : of fundamental medical research towards real problems rather 
> > > : than solving numerous gargantuan pseudo-problems. 
> > 
> > (TIVOL): 
> > > 	Unfortunately, single-source funding mechanisms are vulnerable to the
> > > kinds of political shifts as are occurring in the USA at present.  Having mul-
> > > tiple funding sources (private as well as various levels of government) can
> > > help stabilize things.
> > > 				Yours,
> > > 				Bill Tivol
> > > 
> > BEREZIN: 
> > OK, there is a way to mediate the above offerings. Yes, multiple
> > source funding scheme is better by a number of reasons, PROVIDED 
> > there is a mechanism to control the TOTAL funding for a given
> > researcher (group). At the moment, there is none and research 
> > funding system works by the principle 'grab as much as you can'. 
> > If sensible limitations on how much professor can responsibly
> > do (researchwise) per year are accounted for, than the above 
> > difficulties are largely solvable. I think, as average,
> > responsible research production, will amount to
> > around 2 to 4 papers per year (anything above 5 is either 
> > exceptional or publish-perish treadmill). 
> 
> FERLAND
> That's a new one! Are you really suggesting the government or some other 
> system overlooking research funding should have not only the power but the 
> duty to impose limitations on how much work a scientist is allowed to do? 
> This is George Orwell revisited, especially with your wish for a 
> POLITICAL will to administer such scientific limitation. You scare me!

BEREZIN:
You misquote Orwell.
If you bother to carefully reaD what was posted on this earlier,
you will see that what was proposed is NOT to limit your work, 
publications, creativity or range of activitires you can chose to be 
involved in as a scienist. This is entirely up to you and has nothing 
to do with Orwell. What I am saying though is that reasonable 
limitations should be imposed on how much (public) MONEY should be 
availbalbe to you to pursue your academic activities. Sorry, we live
in a world of limited means and have to trim the appetites.
You are encouraged to learn how to do more with less.

> 
>  > 
> > This limitation (those who are already reasonbly funded are
> > ineligible to apply for more) is rather easy to administer,
> > provided there is a political will for it.
> > 
> 



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