Real Lives and White Lies in the Funding of Scientific ResearchGo read the article. It's scary. And seems accurate enough even to an undergrad with limited experience. (Shit, I've been jaded already before even going to grad school...)
The granting system turns young scientists into bureaucrats and then betrays them
Lawrence PA (2009) PLoS Biology 7(9): e1000197 (open access)
Within the article is this quote:
“Scientists might have had a Hippocratic oath of their own. They might have promised their gifts to mankind. But instead, I have fathered a race of inventive dwarfs who can be hired for anything.”—Bertolt Brecht “The Life of Galileo,” version by David HareTo be fair, doctors aren't exactly saints these days either, being tied up by the madness of insurance policies and a culture that deems it acceptable to SUE(!) a doctor for trying to help a patient. But at least doctors can have their own practice. You pretty much cannot set up your own business as a researcher, unless you're an engineer of sorts. Or if you blatantly contract yourself out to some organisation somewhere, which makes the research even more obviously not objective. There is hardly any real freedom or self-employment. A scientist must become a minion of their funding sources just to make ends meet.
You know how we scientists are fundamentally different from artists, how we hail from different universes and all that? I'm deeply amazed by the parallels between us! It is also nearly impossible for an artist to survive as a self-expressing independent individual - they too must subscribe to fads and funding sources (commissions, etc). They too spend most of their time freaking out over funding rather than actually practising their art. And just like our research, their art is also skewed to please the
We are all but artists-turned-businessmen.
PS: What keeps me trying to stay on this path is the realisation that I'm absolutely worthless for any other kind of job. It's been observed that having limited options often forces one to be quite happy, since there's no point in constantly reflecting upon your choice, so you adapt to it. Yay! =D
Lawrence, P. (2009). Real Lives and White Lies in the Funding of Scientific Research PLoS Biology, 7 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000197
EDIT: Speaking of academic issues, we're not so hot on the data sharing either...