Collegiality in science

One of the most important things in science is to maintain collegiality in the face of a certain tendency among some to view their research as proprietary. This notion of one’s science as one’s “intellectual property” goes against my own grain–it’s at variance with the way my parents practiced neuroscience in their own laboratory at Caltech while I was growing up. So perhaps it’s just my own lack of familiarity with a modern fact-of-life. Perhaps. But it strikes me as very problematic to collaborate and especially exchange ideas with others when one’s body language is a metaphor for a non-disclosure agreement.

Reaching out across disciplines is especially important at an institute for advanced study like Krasnow is. Such exchanges are the crucial catalyst for scientific discovery. And the fuel for such exchanges is collegiality. Without it, one may be successful perhaps to a degree, but one loses the wonderful scientific give-and-take from colleagues who may shy away.

My two cents…

Jim