Scientists hold back progress by not being open enough

Daniel Lemire, a computer science professor at the University of Quebec, has written a scathing post about scientists who care so much about their status that they do not share their data and code, even when they are obligated to, as in the case of those conducting clinical trials. Lemire’s diagnosis of the problem seems on the mark to me; his post is underlined by such fury that he has left in it some editing infelicities, doubtless created in the heat of composing it. Even researchers working in industry are better at sharing than big-shot academics, Lemire points out. Wouldn’t you be just as furious as he is on realizing this? His post is highly recommended reading.

It seems that economists need to devise a better incentive system for governing research done in universities, as well as a method for convincing the powers that be to implement these new incentives. The public shaming Lemire calls for would be a good start.

Here is a pithy quote from Lemire’s post:

The problem is that academic researchers are overly obsessed with their own personal social status. It is a stronger pull than the desire to advance science, the public good or even commercial interests.

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