SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 1
Download to read offline
EDITORIAL
First-class science all over the world
NATURE NEUROSCIENCE VOLUME 9 | NUMBER 3 | MARCH 2006 293
laborations tend to become more bilateral. Chattarji notes that “more
and more,it’s the science”that motivates people to work with his group
and visit his laboratory.
Unfortunately, such cultural exchange is a double-edged sword for
developing countries. Foreign visitors can help students learn how to
apply for graduate school or postdoctoral positions in other countries,
but rarely emphasize the possibility of working in their home coun-
try. Students who go abroad provide expertise and encouragement to
those studying at home, but hearing about the resources available in
other countries tempts others to leave. Even for those who want to
return home, positions are often difficult to find. Ranulfo Romo of the
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico points out another prob-
lem: “When someone returns to Mexico, the community here always
thinks that person couldn’t get a job abroad.” Such attitudes make it
difficult to recruit good faculty.Many granting agencies are attempting
to reduce this ‘brain drain’ by offering funding for scientists to return
home after their training (see background material).
Scientists who succeed in doing first-rate research under difficult
circumstances seem to have some attitudes in common.They are willing
to ask for help in overcoming local disadvantages, and do not worry
too much about imposing on the more fortunate.However,they expect
their laboratory’s work to meet the standards for publication in high-
profile journals, and they are open to constructive criticism.“The idea
that good research can only come from major research institutions is
the kind of self-perpetuating notion that keeps expectations low for
smaller institutions,” explains Quirk. These successful scientists also
cultivate local students, who tend to be very highly selected but not
well trained when entering the laboratory.To do so,they provide inten-
sive training while setting high standards for performance. This sort of
training requires a very strong laboratory culture, which includes a lot
of contact with the investigator.
How can scientists improve the odds of success in this uphill battle?A
web clearinghouse to match needs and offers of equipment and exper-
tise would be useful, along with more funding for foreign lectures and
return-home grants. Encouraging students from developed countries
to work overseas would help them to understand the problems, as
would inviting foreign scientists to speak at prestigious universities.
Developing nations also need to do their part,by reducing bureaucracy,
limiting teaching to allow time for research, and selecting and promot-
ing faculty for their abilities rather than their political connections.
For those who establish a productive laboratory in a developing
country, the rewards are clear. One person can make a major differ-
ence in the lives of students and in a country’s scientific development.
Chattarji sums it up: “I’m doing five times more than I imagined I
could do here.”
View background material on Connotea at http://www.connotea.org/user/NatNeurosci/tag/
editorial200603.
M
ost scientists take opportunities to discuss their work with
interested colleagues for granted, but developing these
resources in places with a small science community requires
effort and ingenuity.“Initially I’d invite ten people,and one would show
up,” says Hossein Esteky of the Institute for Physics and Mathematics
School of Cognitive Sciences in Tehran, who has created a respected
program in cognitive neuroscience over the last five years. His institute
now hosts 12–15 leading scientists a year. Such dedicated investiga-
tors have created world-class research programs in developing regions
despite limited resources.The scientific community needs to learn from
their stories and work toward providing more effective support for
such efforts.
Outstanding science requires access to the latest research findings and
ideas, making it almost impossible to achieve in isolation. Fortunately,
the internet has made international communication much easier.“Being
out of the mainstream is really an intellectual state; it’s not a physi-
cal state. The ‘hallway’ can be the size of a continent,” notes Gregory
Quirk of Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. When travel fund-
ing is limited, Quirk uses videotaped seminars from the internet to
produce a virtual lecture series. Online access to scientific journals also
has improved dramatically over the last decade, with many publishers
offering free or reduced-price access for developing countries through
programs like the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative.
Staying in touch with outside scientists helps researchers in develop-
ing countries to become a valued part of the world community. There
are practical benefits as well, including help with visa problems and
other government regulations, equipment donation and comments on
manuscripts written in a non-native language. Both sides can benefit
from scientific collaboration and the exchange of students.If an isolated
university has good outside contacts, working in the home country
becomes more attractive to faculty who have studied abroad.
Getting to know foreign scientists presents even stronger advantages
to students. Beyond exposing them to a variety of high-quality science,
such contact assures them that the outside world is interested in their
work.“Working in relative isolation, it’s even more important for stu-
dents to get critical feedback on their work from experts in the field,”
says Shona Chattarji of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in
Bangalore.In some cases,leading outside scientists come to know these
students well enough to write them letters of recommendation and
advise them on career issues.
Relationships with a foreign scientist’s laboratory often begin with
personal connections, developed at a conference or through an intro-
duction from another scientist. The first visit may be motivated by the
opportunity to travel to an unusual part of the world or to interact with
enthusiastic students. Also, Quirk explains, “Science is a meritocracy,
and people want to see these historical imbalances righted.If someone’s
out there fighting the windmills, they will try to help.”With time, col-
©2006NaturePublishingGrouphttp://www.nature.com/natureneuroscience

More Related Content

What's hot (12)

1 Professional Sample Portfolio
1 Professional Sample Portfolio1 Professional Sample Portfolio
1 Professional Sample Portfolio
 
Gender and research funding in a Norwegian context
Gender and research funding in a Norwegian contextGender and research funding in a Norwegian context
Gender and research funding in a Norwegian context
 
EFF Article EndoCareers Summer 2015
EFF Article EndoCareers Summer 2015EFF Article EndoCareers Summer 2015
EFF Article EndoCareers Summer 2015
 
Gender inequities in science careers
Gender inequities in science careersGender inequities in science careers
Gender inequities in science careers
 
Media, stem cells and publics
Media, stem cells and publicsMedia, stem cells and publics
Media, stem cells and publics
 
Presentation Nias
Presentation NiasPresentation Nias
Presentation Nias
 
sasso rivera - Scientific mobility as a bridge between two worlds
sasso rivera - Scientific mobility as a bridge between two worldssasso rivera - Scientific mobility as a bridge between two worlds
sasso rivera - Scientific mobility as a bridge between two worlds
 
Seeber - Mobility and inbreeding in the heart of europe
Seeber - Mobility and inbreeding in the heart of europeSeeber - Mobility and inbreeding in the heart of europe
Seeber - Mobility and inbreeding in the heart of europe
 
PageCV
PageCVPageCV
PageCV
 
Smriti Sharma_Letter of Appreciation
Smriti Sharma_Letter of AppreciationSmriti Sharma_Letter of Appreciation
Smriti Sharma_Letter of Appreciation
 
Restrepo arango russell-sti2014 (1)
Restrepo arango russell-sti2014 (1)Restrepo arango russell-sti2014 (1)
Restrepo arango russell-sti2014 (1)
 
2011_NSFgrant_psych
2011_NSFgrant_psych2011_NSFgrant_psych
2011_NSFgrant_psych
 

Similar to First class science all over the world

GEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docx
GEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docxGEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docx
GEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docx
hanneloremccaffery
 
Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...
Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...
Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...
Andrea Schuler
 

Similar to First class science all over the world (20)

NASA TOPS ( Transform to Open Science )
NASA TOPS ( Transform to Open Science )NASA TOPS ( Transform to Open Science )
NASA TOPS ( Transform to Open Science )
 
Dental research process: a trial to understand, and how to connect with the s...
Dental research process: a trial to understand, and how to connect with the s...Dental research process: a trial to understand, and how to connect with the s...
Dental research process: a trial to understand, and how to connect with the s...
 
Why a Manifesto for Open Science?
Why a Manifesto for Open Science?Why a Manifesto for Open Science?
Why a Manifesto for Open Science?
 
UNCGResearch2013
UNCGResearch2013UNCGResearch2013
UNCGResearch2013
 
{The best technology in number position 4
{The best technology in number position 4{The best technology in number position 4
{The best technology in number position 4
 
{The best technology in number position 2
{The best technology in number position 2{The best technology in number position 2
{The best technology in number position 2
 
{The best technology in number position 3
{The best technology in number position 3{The best technology in number position 3
{The best technology in number position 3
 
{The best technology in number position 3
{The best technology in number position 3{The best technology in number position 3
{The best technology in number position 3
 
{The best technology in number position How to get that famubulous
{The best technology in number position  How to get that famubulous{The best technology in number position  How to get that famubulous
{The best technology in number position How to get that famubulous
 
{The best technology in number position 4
{The best technology in number position 4{The best technology in number position 4
{The best technology in number position 4
 
{The best technology in number position 4
{The best technology in number position 4{The best technology in number position 4
{The best technology in number position 4
 
GEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docx
GEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docxGEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docx
GEN499InformationLiteracyWk2A.docby Chanda CrewsFILE.docx
 
Arts And Humanities Research And Innovation
Arts And Humanities Research And InnovationArts And Humanities Research And Innovation
Arts And Humanities Research And Innovation
 
Benchmarking research trends in Pakistans universities.pdf
Benchmarking research trends in Pakistans universities.pdfBenchmarking research trends in Pakistans universities.pdf
Benchmarking research trends in Pakistans universities.pdf
 
Studying Science: A Gateway to Knowledge and Progress
Studying Science: A Gateway to Knowledge and ProgressStudying Science: A Gateway to Knowledge and Progress
Studying Science: A Gateway to Knowledge and Progress
 
Science Diplomacy
Science DiplomacyScience Diplomacy
Science Diplomacy
 
Academic Research Essay
Academic Research EssayAcademic Research Essay
Academic Research Essay
 
Open Access in the Global South: Perspectives from the OCSDNet
Open Access in the Global South: Perspectives from the OCSDNetOpen Access in the Global South: Perspectives from the OCSDNet
Open Access in the Global South: Perspectives from the OCSDNet
 
Social and scientific implications of science blogging.
Social and scientific implications of science blogging.Social and scientific implications of science blogging.
Social and scientific implications of science blogging.
 
Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...
Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...
Starting young: How the inclusion of student scholarship in repositories bene...
 

First class science all over the world

  • 1. EDITORIAL First-class science all over the world NATURE NEUROSCIENCE VOLUME 9 | NUMBER 3 | MARCH 2006 293 laborations tend to become more bilateral. Chattarji notes that “more and more,it’s the science”that motivates people to work with his group and visit his laboratory. Unfortunately, such cultural exchange is a double-edged sword for developing countries. Foreign visitors can help students learn how to apply for graduate school or postdoctoral positions in other countries, but rarely emphasize the possibility of working in their home coun- try. Students who go abroad provide expertise and encouragement to those studying at home, but hearing about the resources available in other countries tempts others to leave. Even for those who want to return home, positions are often difficult to find. Ranulfo Romo of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico points out another prob- lem: “When someone returns to Mexico, the community here always thinks that person couldn’t get a job abroad.” Such attitudes make it difficult to recruit good faculty.Many granting agencies are attempting to reduce this ‘brain drain’ by offering funding for scientists to return home after their training (see background material). Scientists who succeed in doing first-rate research under difficult circumstances seem to have some attitudes in common.They are willing to ask for help in overcoming local disadvantages, and do not worry too much about imposing on the more fortunate.However,they expect their laboratory’s work to meet the standards for publication in high- profile journals, and they are open to constructive criticism.“The idea that good research can only come from major research institutions is the kind of self-perpetuating notion that keeps expectations low for smaller institutions,” explains Quirk. These successful scientists also cultivate local students, who tend to be very highly selected but not well trained when entering the laboratory.To do so,they provide inten- sive training while setting high standards for performance. This sort of training requires a very strong laboratory culture, which includes a lot of contact with the investigator. How can scientists improve the odds of success in this uphill battle?A web clearinghouse to match needs and offers of equipment and exper- tise would be useful, along with more funding for foreign lectures and return-home grants. Encouraging students from developed countries to work overseas would help them to understand the problems, as would inviting foreign scientists to speak at prestigious universities. Developing nations also need to do their part,by reducing bureaucracy, limiting teaching to allow time for research, and selecting and promot- ing faculty for their abilities rather than their political connections. For those who establish a productive laboratory in a developing country, the rewards are clear. One person can make a major differ- ence in the lives of students and in a country’s scientific development. Chattarji sums it up: “I’m doing five times more than I imagined I could do here.” View background material on Connotea at http://www.connotea.org/user/NatNeurosci/tag/ editorial200603. M ost scientists take opportunities to discuss their work with interested colleagues for granted, but developing these resources in places with a small science community requires effort and ingenuity.“Initially I’d invite ten people,and one would show up,” says Hossein Esteky of the Institute for Physics and Mathematics School of Cognitive Sciences in Tehran, who has created a respected program in cognitive neuroscience over the last five years. His institute now hosts 12–15 leading scientists a year. Such dedicated investiga- tors have created world-class research programs in developing regions despite limited resources.The scientific community needs to learn from their stories and work toward providing more effective support for such efforts. Outstanding science requires access to the latest research findings and ideas, making it almost impossible to achieve in isolation. Fortunately, the internet has made international communication much easier.“Being out of the mainstream is really an intellectual state; it’s not a physi- cal state. The ‘hallway’ can be the size of a continent,” notes Gregory Quirk of Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. When travel fund- ing is limited, Quirk uses videotaped seminars from the internet to produce a virtual lecture series. Online access to scientific journals also has improved dramatically over the last decade, with many publishers offering free or reduced-price access for developing countries through programs like the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative. Staying in touch with outside scientists helps researchers in develop- ing countries to become a valued part of the world community. There are practical benefits as well, including help with visa problems and other government regulations, equipment donation and comments on manuscripts written in a non-native language. Both sides can benefit from scientific collaboration and the exchange of students.If an isolated university has good outside contacts, working in the home country becomes more attractive to faculty who have studied abroad. Getting to know foreign scientists presents even stronger advantages to students. Beyond exposing them to a variety of high-quality science, such contact assures them that the outside world is interested in their work.“Working in relative isolation, it’s even more important for stu- dents to get critical feedback on their work from experts in the field,” says Shona Chattarji of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore.In some cases,leading outside scientists come to know these students well enough to write them letters of recommendation and advise them on career issues. Relationships with a foreign scientist’s laboratory often begin with personal connections, developed at a conference or through an intro- duction from another scientist. The first visit may be motivated by the opportunity to travel to an unusual part of the world or to interact with enthusiastic students. Also, Quirk explains, “Science is a meritocracy, and people want to see these historical imbalances righted.If someone’s out there fighting the windmills, they will try to help.”With time, col- ©2006NaturePublishingGrouphttp://www.nature.com/natureneuroscience