Snobby Scientists

Does the preference of many scientists to only hear talks from successful institutions limit the reach of innovation?

Mar 21, 2013
Edyta Zielinska

FLICKR, WILL HARTGoing to conferences with thousands of attendees and hundreds of talks, many scientists make their initial choice based on the speaker’s institution rather than the topic or merit of the work. Keith Weaver, a microbiologist at the University of South Dakota, opines in a recent issue of Nature that this tendency is pervasive in the scientific community and that it limits the potential for successful collaborations and cross-pollination.

Derek Lowe says on the blog In the Pipeline  that this practice is also common in industry. There, it’s how successful and well-known your biopharma company has been that garners the prestige. “The unspoken supposition is that a really small obscure company must have had to reach lower down the ladder to hire people, even though this might not be the case at all,” Lowe wrote.

(Hat tip to GenomeWeb)