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Policy

Industry and academia can improve their partnerships

by Andrea Widener
August 28, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 34

Cultural differences between academic and industrial researchers are increasingly straining scientific collaborations, but those partnerships are essential to the health of the research enterprise. A commentary in Science suggests ways to improve those relationships (2017, DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4906). The heart of the problem is a fear by industry that academic research is not reproducible, according to the multiauthor commentary, which is the result of an American Association for the Advancement of Science workshop. “Irreproducible research wastes time, money, and resources. Academic researchers, universities, and other institutions, industry, funding agencies, and [journal] editors all have a role to play in raising research standards and creating an environment of trust between communities,” said the authors, who laid out suggestions for those players to help improve reproducibility. The commentary also outlines questions industrial and academic partners should ask when they form a partnership. They should decide up front what proprietary data can be shared and in what format, for example. They should also determine what will happen with the academic partner’s research and data after the collaboration ends.

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