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by Nick Jacobs

One or our lead scientists from the research institute forwarded a piece to me written by Janet D. Stemwedel regarding Clarity and Obfuscation in Scientific Papers on her blog Adventures in Ethics and Science. She humorously explores the spin that is placed on scientific papers with catch phrases like “It has long been known,” “I don’t know the original reference” and “Typical results are shown.”

Numerous scientists commented on this post. One stated, “While people may have become scientists because they wanted to learn more about the natural world, that is only a side effect of the enterprise they are actually engaged in, and the enterprise on which they are judged and for which they are rewarded. What they are really engaged in is a race to prestige . . . There is a pattern that we have to oversell our results in an attempt to make ourselves each look more important than perhaps we really are . .. Unfortunately, we each have our own livelihood to look out for, which, given the way the system is put together, often pushes us in the wrong direction.”

Finally, PhysioProf wrote, “It seems to me that the reason we have to attend to these details in the first place turns largely on the set-up of a scientist vs. scientist competition instead of scientists against the world, i.e., working together to work out the truth.

With that revelation, if any of you are still reading, let me reveal my personal intellectual property as to how we have put together our research center and how, at least I believe, science should operate. All of our scientists are given the opportunity to explore the same pristine samples that are collected meticulously by physicians and techs from a 40 page protocol that we developed.

Our data flows collectively into one large data repository to which all of our scientists have access. They are discouraged from keeping their data on their hard drive.

Scientists of all disciplines are encouraged to work on the same projects so as to bring a complete diversity of knowledge to the table.

All the grant monies come from combined applications so that jobs are not lost from lack of funding, lack of performance, yes, but not lack of funding.

Physicians represent a large part of our work as we actually dedicate our efforts toward helping them solve medical problems that can save lives. This is translational medicine.

Simple to see through the eyes of a non scientist, but difficult to change in a world built on getting there first as opposed to getting there together at whatever cost.

For background on our research center, see WRI: Preventive, Personalized Medicine, a short video profile available on YouTube.

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