The Singular Barrier to Scientific Collaboration (and why Sean Parker is worried)
Publish or Perish
Amidst the recent media burst when Sean Parker’s $250M immunotherapy cancer center was announced, Forbes’ coverage by Matthew Herper nailed it: misaligned incentives stifle scientific discovery. He writes,
Parker told me that he worries that the incentives in science lead researchers to work not on their best, bravest idea, but on what will get them published or will get their next grant funded. (emphasis added)
Herper also reported that this was of concern to Susan Desmond-Hellmann, a former oncology researcher, now chief officer at the Gates Foundation. She says,
Whenever you want to do something with pace and purpose, money and collaboration are really helpful. And it’s difficult to collaborate in academia. You care about credit, you care about your institution, you care about your lab.
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