STRATEGY TO PROMOTE FAIR PLAY AMONG SCIENTISTS.

Bert Gold bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
Sun Jun 9 15:35:44 EST 1996


+ is Alex Berezin at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA
o is Bert Gold at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
- is Patrick at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City Utah

On Sat, 8 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:

o 
o Alex,
o 
o I've edited your note to me quite a bit.
o 
o You are trying, in this letter to me, to make some important points.
o 
o I respect them and want to be clear about what you are saying before
o I let others see these opinions on strategy.
o 
o Please look at what I have done below carefully and see if there
o is anything that I've misconstrued sufficiently so that you would
o not want anybody to see it.
o 
o If what we've written together below (with Patrick) meets with your
o approval, I will post it.
o 
o But, first, I want to be certain that it says what you've
o intended to say, and not what I've imagined you saying...
o  
o Bert
o San Francisco 
o
o Editing provided by Bert in <>.
o 
o Remember, english is not Alex's first language,
o and I assure you that I would not do as well 
o as he does if I were to work in Eastern Europe.
o 
 
+ Bert,
+ 
+ Here I provide some comment and/or
+ clarifications. If you wish to repost
+ it all on bioforum, etc please feel 
+ free to do so. 
+ 
+ Alex Berezin
+  
o On Sat, 8 Jun 1996, Bert Gold wrote:
o
o 
o Alex,
o 
o Don't get so defensive, I also read your remark as 'tossing
o out the baby with the bathwater'.  NIH runs a clinical, experimental
o hospital which tests most new drugs and medical treatments.  The
o clinical center is still perhaps one of the best in the world.
o On that basis alone, NIH will not fold.
+
+ I hope you all don't literally take that I say
+ that NIH is useless and should really be shut
+ down, that American biomedical research is altogether
+ all waste, etc. There <are> varying degrees
+ of hyperbole, rhetoric, etc. in essentially
+ everything we are saying. What I DID find out from 
+ all my experience <is> that if you really want to move 
+ things, you have to overstate the issue. 
+ Overwise, people simply don't get what you are
+ trying to say.
+
+ <The> research funding system in the USA <and> Canada is so flawed
+ that there <is> absolutely no way to correct it as long as the main
+ underlying message is 'they don't give us enough money'.
+ 
+ I am 100 % certain that unless (we) are able to convince
+ people-in-charge that this message is a fallacious,
+ smoke screen <for wide-scale inequities in the distribution of
+ funding>, there will be absolutely no progress 
+ <toward correcting those inequities>.
+
+ Only if <the funding distribution disequilibrium> becomes clear
+ to many and that the overall research budget is NOT the #1 issue,
+ can we move <toward> peer review reorganization.
+ 
+ <I have discussed with you many details of the creative solutions
+ to these difficult problems which both I and Forsdyke have proposed.>
+ 
+ <These include a> sliding scale, funding caps and other stuff.
+ 
+ <If we do not adhere to a discussion of the redistribution of
+ funds in a more equitable way, then our discussions become>
+ ... a theology lecture for athiests.
+ 
o 
o Also, sometimes scientific discovery does require significant
o additional funding (More MONEY).  If I don't admit this, my adversaries
o down here will pinion me as being unrealistic, then they can discredit
o everything else I have been saying on that basis.
+ 
+ Yes, I understand this (that some things need 'more
+ money' etc). 
o
o BERT's EDITORIAL COMMENT:  Readers, Please note that Alex Berezin
o above acknowledges that sometimes RESEARCH costs ALOT of MONEY!
o 
o 
+ But the problem <for those of us who are proposing reform> is that when
+ <we suggest that there is a need for more funds, those in charge of
+ science immediately catch us on this <harp on this issue alone> and force
+ us into a <Catch-22>. All the rest of our message is dismissed and we are
+ forced to play on their ground. <So> our game is lost <before> we've even
+ started <to propose funding reforms>. In short, they use OUR protest to
+ strengthen THEIR platform.
+
+ ALEX: NEW ADDED:
+
+ We have to understand that the outcry 'Give us more
+ money' is precisely what _they_ (the elite, landed
+ gentry - whatever term you choose to use) want to hear 
+ from us. When we say it, its music for their ears,
+ that's exactly what they want US to say.
+ ( 'Look politicians: we have a lot of poor people
+ among us. We are poor scientists, we need more').
+
+ And when it works they, of course, grab all the
+ extras, so the beggars will keep screaming, fueling
+ the spiral over and over. That's how they keep
+ us in their Catch-22-trap. Make no mistake
+ about it.
+
+ And also, once we said what _they_ want us to say
+ (that the problem is money), it immediately nullifies 
+ all the rest of our message (about selectivity, NILs, 
+ etc), because after _not enough money_ nobody is
+ listening.
o
o N.B. - Bert did not edit the paragraph below:
+ 
+ 
+ On the contrary, if we start with what I suggest
+ as an anchor formula ('there is too much money in 
+ the system, rather than too little'), you at least
+ start from your own territory. Politicians LOVE 
+ when they are asked for 'more money' (all like to 
+ say no). And beggars by definition can't win.
+ 
o 
o Alex, your suggestions and ideas are WONDERFUL; you just sometimes
o get carried away...
o 
o NIH is not going to disappear (at least quickly) and the US is not
o going to stop doing research. 
+
+ I hope you are right. But I won't sing my blood under
+ the above. I've been hearing for my first 33 years of
+ life that USSR will NEVER break down, communism with
+ triumph the world and this swill. And the most 
+ surprising lesson of 1989-92 that it all melted
+ even WITHOUT any major havoc (will all imagination 
+ Chernoble did not amount to the world scale calamity).
o 
o Probably we will end up with some
o form of National Health Care, but it might not be for 10 years or so.
o 
o What we can do now is to just level the playing field so that the
o best young people of the next 10 years can at least be part of the
o game.
o 
o If we do not succeed, it will be a much poorer world (for everybody)
o including Patrick.
o 
o Send him this note.
o 
o Tell him what you think about what I've said privately.
o
o He is in an important place and knows important people.
o 
o Watch, the US can change, but it always takes too much time...
o 
o Bert Gold
o San Francisco
o 
 
- In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.960607153509.14439A-100000 at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA> you wrote:
- : 
- : On Thu, 6 Jun 1996, Patrick wrote:
- : 
- : [ prev.garbo deleted ] 
- : 
- : > 
- : > The NIH does MUCH more than simply dole out grant 
- : > funds...without them the world 
- : > and the nation would be a less healthy place.  
+ : 
+ : If you believe what you are saying then please
+ : explain specifically:
+ : 
+ : What EXACTLY  NIH is doing EXCEPT giving out 
+ : grants ? Apparently, these (other) activities 
+ : must be truly important. Then we would like
+ : to know about them. Please list them, let briefly
+ : and give us ideas why and in what way they 
+ : (this 'other' activities of NIH) are useful
+ : for the society.
+ : 
+ : This may enlighten our ignorance.
+ : 
+ : Alex Berezin 
+ : 
-  
- No need to toss the baby.
- 
- patrick
- 
-  
-
 Bert Gold, Ph.D.                         "Seeing much, Suffering much,
 University of California, San Francisco   and studying much,
 School of Medicine                        These are the three pillars
 Program in Medical Genetics               of learning." -- Benjamin Disraeli







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