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A Modest Financial Proposal

Figure 1The pace, direction, and application of scientific research are largely determined by the availability of money. At an individual level, grant applications consume a great deal of professional time; and gossip about funding successes and failures, along with speculation about donor intentions, fuels hope or opens the door to despair. Yet despite the importance of money, many scientists seem to be as shy about mentioning it in public as our Victorian ancestors were in talking about sex.Ov

Malcolm Potts
<p>Figure 1</p>

The pace, direction, and application of scientific research are largely determined by the availability of money. At an individual level, grant applications consume a great deal of professional time; and gossip about funding successes and failures, along with speculation about donor intentions, fuels hope or opens the door to despair. Yet despite the importance of money, many scientists seem to be as shy about mentioning it in public as our Victorian ancestors were in talking about sex.

Over the past decade, more and more journals have begun to demand that authors declare any possible conflicts of interest, such as owning stock in the company that finances the research. Such declarations are useful, but I want to suggest that journals require a second statement: How much did the work cost?

At a minimum, we are likely to be interested in knowing what our colleague's research cost to complete, but...

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