Deepak Singh
The one video every life scientist should watch -
"The system of peer-reviewed journal articles was not designed as a tool to help cure disease, and yet we still continue asking it to do so." (ca. 13:15); goes on to discuss "What would an intelligently designed system of biomedical data exchange accomplish?" By the way, direct link to the video (with full screen option: ; full video list at ). - Daniel Mietchen
Josh Sommer - You are fantastic and an inspiration ! - joergkurtwegner
I recommend consuming this in conjunction with and . - Daniel Mietchen
Now let's take the perspective of a clinical researcher who works on therapies in an environment similar to the initial one outlined by Josh - how should they split their time and effort into (i) working on the therapies and the theoretical and practical issues around them, (ii) formally publishing the work they did, be it relevant to a therapy or not (or already informally published or not), and (iii) working on bringing the research collaboration architectures and mentalities into the present. Keeping in mind that currently only (ii) is being considered useful in terms of a scientific career, the answer is very clear for most of the researchers concerned. - Daniel Mietchen
Thanks so much for sharing this, Deepak! I'm quite sorry this is the first I heard about the Congress. - Ruchira S. Datta
An inspiring video indeed. Unfortunately, I agree with Daniel. The reality of both clinical and basic researchers is that if they freely share their data as soon as they have it, pretty soon they will lose the ability/resources/position that enables them to do research in the first place. - Mickey Kosloff
Mickey, unfortunately that is the case. The reason I want people to see this is that I hope they realize that what we do goes a lot further than grants and tenure - Deepak Singh
@Deepak. what I find no less frustrating is that I met several people in academia that were very enthusiastic about changing the system in the direction we talk about. But several years pass, they get tenure, they establish themselves within the current system... and they move to the other side of the fence... - Mickey Kosloff
I guess you need to "hook" people very high up in the food chain to make a (relatively) fast change. e.g. anyone knows Bill Gates personally ;-) - Mickey Kosloff
Mickey, I know it's accepted wisdom that exposing your data means someone will scoop you and you'll lose your tenure, but I don't know if that's really true. The parallel would be in startups. Many startups are very secretive about their ideas and try to make everyone sign NDAs before talking to them and so on, but there are some VCs that are now saying that practice should end as there's no reason for it. Most people don't want to admit it, but the real reason they don't want to share openly isn't because they have this amazingly great idea that no one has ever thought of, but rather that they're scared that someone will see an obvious flaw that they missed and embarrass them. I don't think we have to accept that data sharing always leads to negative consequences. Open source software seems to do OK, despite the code being available for everyone, so I can understand people being concerned in terms of a power imbalance, but doesn't that just mean that sharing isn't the problem, the power imbalance is? The only people who'd soon lose funding from openly sharing data are the people who aren't going to be successful anyways. Good scientists should benefit more than lose from open sharing arrangements. I understand the issue of being measured by the impact factor of the journals you published in recently, but that's another thing to change. - Mr. Gunn
I think that the more difficult issue to resolve is not data sharing, as much as where people put their time and effort. As Daniel said, people focus on what they need to keep their job and funding. By the time they get tenure and their job is secure, they are less likely to change the system (even though they finally have the ability to do so). - Mickey Kosloff
That's right, so instead of living in fear of the big labs until you can finally become one yourself, the thing to do would be to join your small group together with a bunch of other small groups (openly so as to maximize the membership) and run a lean, efficient machine that gets results. Then you'd not have to live in fear of being taken advantage of by some big group. It's tribes vs. sharecroppers all over again, but with results, you could get funding that the big groups couldn't touch, and most importantly, you'd advance science faster. - Mr. Gunn
@Mr. Gunn, What you suggest is obviously better than the current situation. But you are expecting people to make a decision that might put their careers at risk. Following your advice they might reduce their chances of getting the particular currency that is needed for tenure and funding - last author papers or at least papers where *their* lab contribution is significant and clear. How many pre-tenure PIs will do that? I don't have an easy answer as to how to bring about such change on a larger scale. - Mickey Kosloff
Ahem ... what did I say about science conversations becoming about grants and tenure :) - Deepak Singh
Yes, Mickey, it might put their career at risk, or it might be their best shot at getting out from under the thumb of the bigger dogs at the university and really doing something important. It's by no means certain that all the risk is downside risk. So is Singh's law like Godwin's law? Do we have to declare the thread over now? - Mr. Gunn
Well fair is fair - Deepak's thread=Deepak's rules? :-) - Mickey Kosloff
Refocusing on the 1/2 full glass - I think the example that started the thread (the Chordoma Foundation) shows that starting a foundation and having funding as an incentive/consideration can be (one of several) strong motivators to pull people in and overcomes some of the perceived risks. Hence my (tongue in cheek) reference to Bill Gates - that would be one way to do this on a bigger scale ;-) - Mickey Kosloff
That's more likely than you think, Mickey. Gates is the one spending billions on third-world aid instead of busting down people's doors looking for info leaks. - Mr. Gunn
Sidenote: I can't see the phrase "more likely than you think" without thinking of this meme: - Mr. Gunn
Current overview on how Gates plans to spend the next few millions: . I would like to see an open science project proposed there, but the areas in their focus are a bit off mine. - Daniel Mietchen