ERIC Number: EJ815447
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct-10
Reference Count: 0
Science Suffers when Getting a Grant Becomes the Goal
Peck, Steven L.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n7 pA42 Oct 2008
The perception that academic scientists must pursue money from government agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health is subverting the aims of science and making it harder for institutions and individual professors to do innovative and original research. Of course winning a large federal grant attracts a lot of attention, because the process is highly competitive. Successful professors are congratulated from all sides, and universities tout the news on their Web sites--all of which is fine. However, people have created a climate in which they now rank professors in subtle ways based on the number and size of their grants, and that is not fine, given that the best science does not always come from researchers with the most or the biggest grants. In this article, the author argues that when getting a grant becomes a scientist's chief goal, rather than a means to an end, science suffers because innovation, research that cannot be done quickly, and conceptual advances are all devalued and thus become less common. Therefore federal grants may in the end subvert the diversity and freedom that move science forward.
Descriptors: Scientific Research, Federal Aid, Public Agencies, Grants, Scientists, College Faculty, Reputation, Innovation
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A