‘Real Lives and White Lies in the Funding of Scientific Research’

I recently read an PLoS Biology Perspectives piece — about how ‘the granting system turns young scientists into bureaucrats and then betrays them’. I found it to be a very interesting read. Often, I look around myself and wonder how things got to be the way they are. I hear people saying that it’s ‘publish or perish’, and, understandably, I see them obsess about publications and publishing. It has always struck me as rather… unscientific.

The article criticizes the approach that granting agencies take in giving funding, and discusses the resulting negative effects. I wonder if anything can change — perhaps any time soon. The article ends with this statement: “…only false objectivity is offered by evaluating real people using unreal calculations with numbers of papers, citations, and journal impact factors. These calculations have not only demoralised and demotivated the scientific community, they have also redirected our research and vitiated its purpose.”