Daily Kos: Sequester threatens American scientific research for a …

It’s mostly reiteration, but I want to comment.

Losses are magnified in thoughtless cuts.

Decades of infrastructure in training, colonies, sites, and equipment is jeopardized. Buildings, sites, materials, and personnel are being lost irreversibly. It’s particularly vexing that the federal government is not hiring permanent researchers while maintaining rules against hiring researchers over 4 years removed from obtaining degrees. It is in essence a big factor in turning much of a generation of scientists away from their chosen career. And, basic science is being hit at least as hard as applied or biomedical science.

Now for speculation based on anecdotes. Please correct as seen fit.

Publications are rushed through with incomplete or shoddy work, because we must publish and who knows when we might get to improve our work with follow up or complementary experiments. Just get it out while we can.

A related outcome is that large, collaborative efforts are being cut back. Researchers are circling the wagons and withdrawing into trusted groups. Experiments and publications suffer. High impact work often involves large, collaborative efforts. How can we commit to 3+ years with each other if the foundation is so unstable.

Finally, as one who frequently works with Chinese, I can say with confidence that they are more than happy to replicate and overtake our efforts in cutting edge, multidisciplinary, and highly collaborative science. They are setting up computer capabilities, bypassing the NCBI and Uniprot with their own databases and culture collections, and encouraging big projects with sufficient funding.

I am not against replicating or overtaking, as long as we try. My wife is Chinese. But more than that, I think that science is worldwide and happy for progress anywhere. I wish to participate and hope that others in the US who are capable can do so as they wish.