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Policy

It Comes Down To Money

July 28, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 30

As a result of meeting ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs in Ireland many years ago, I am a recipient of C&EN every week, and I am continually grateful.

The May 26 issue has, as usual, a number of items of interest.

Those with the common link of money sparked me to write.

Rudy Baum’s editorial on “Research Pitfalls” (page 3) mentions a confusion concerning TIC10 and the patents surrounding it. The first of the letters to the editor mentions the funding of Higgs boson research; another mentions the high cost of some copyright permissions (page 4).

There was a time when public and private money lived peacefully together in the pursuit of science. The relationship has eroded into a sort of conflict between the sources. In the TIC10 case, it is suggested that investors would be wary of a product where the legal issues were unclear; the Higgs research, publicly funded, is questioned as to its priority; the copyright/reproduction matter is related to the lack of payment for publication submissions.

The word socialism has conflicted meanings in some quarters. However, a more socialistic mix in looking at the funding of scientific endeavor would surely create a better balance of results. It may be that we live in a capitalistic era when government or pseudogovernment funding is frowned upon. But if all research and the availability of results are driven by money matters, then the pace and quality of the work and the results made available will surely suffer.

Barry Mahon
Sherkin Island, County Cork, Ireland

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