Carrot works in research

I was browsing thru about 40 research proposals submitted in response to a request for proosal (for obvious reasons no details on the agency and the program). This agency requested proposals in an area –lets call it XY — and made it clear that they are only interested in XY. It was hilarious to see that about half of the proosals really have nothing to do with XY. The researcher is really interested in area AB (as far as it can be from XY) but they start saying that AB has been a successful approach and can really make XY successful — without AB research in XY will be incomplete and useless. And so on.

Researchers are usually creative people and they are suppose to think hard about deep issues. It appears, however, that our research publication and research funding oriented culture is forcing researchers to think about minimum publishable unit in research issues and both in publications as ell as in funding people spend more time thinking about how to play the game to please the reviewers and the funding agency. Research and problem solving are taking back seats to playing the game.

I guess human beings will remain the same independent whether they are a business person, a researcher, or a politician.

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