Addressing The Concerns Of The Selfish

A burnt hand didn’t teach any lessons to Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Just last week Jeffrey and a co-conspirator took to the editorial page of the NEJM to denounce as “parasites,” scientists who reuse data developed by others. Especially, if the data developers weren’t included in the new work. See: Parasitic Re-use of Data? Institutionalizing Toadyism.

Overly sensitive, as protectors of greedy people tend to be, Jeffrey takes back to the editorial page to say:

In the process of formulating our policy, we spoke to clinical trialists around the world. Many were concerned that data sharing would require them to commit scarce resources with little direct benefit. Some of them spoke pejoratively in describing data scientists who analyze the data of others.3 To make data sharing successful, it is important to acknowledge and air those concerns.(Data Sharing and The Journal)

On target with concerns about data sharing requiring “…scarce resources with little direct benefit.”

Except Jeffrey forgot to mention that in his editorial about “parasites.”

Not a single word. The “cost free” myth of sharing data persists and the NEJM’s voice could be an important one in dispelling that myth.

But not Jeffrey, he took up his lance to defend the concerns of the selfish.

I will post separately on the issue of the cost of data sharing, etc., which as I say, is a legitimate concern.

We don’t need to resort to toadyism to satisfy the concerns of scientists over re-use of their data.

Create all the needed mechanisms to compensate for the sharing of data and if anyone objects or has “concerns” about re-use of data, cease funding them and/or any project of which they are a member.

There is no right to public funding for research, especially for scientists who have developed a sense of entitlement to public funding, for their own benefit.

You might want to compare the NEJM position to that of the radio astronomy community which shares both raw and processed data with anyone who wants to download it.

It’s a question of “privilege,” and not public safety, etc.

It’s annoying enough that people are selfish with research data, don’t be dishonest as well.

Comments are closed.