Self-Preservation Chokes Open Science, Kills The Patient

Pam Baker | FierceBigData | September 9, 2013

Arguably the one area that stands to benefit the most from open and shared data is science. Yet researchers are reluctant to do it. Why? Because the reward model for scientific discovery is chaining them to dollars they can't pocket otherwise. In other words, self-preservation dictates they hide and secure their data until they can't milk anything else from it and even then they often leave the raw data forgotten on a hard drive rather than risk releasing it for someone else to profit from.

Nah, you might say, that can't be happening. Yes, it's happening. Read the most excellent "Dude, Where's My Data?" post in for a thorough understanding of how little science data is actually retrievable. I promise this news will make you cry.

On the one hand, science is a noble cause that benefits all of mankind. On the other, it is driven by the individual scientist's need for prestige, credibility and visibility, all of which are essential to securing research funding. It is important to understand this distinction. The majority of scientists are not driven by monetary gain for themselves (although they will gladly accept such!) but by the ever present need to get more research funding and hold onto their jobs. [...]