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Academia's Wasteful Spending

Linda Feighery, a London-based medical writer with a background in biomedical research, expresses concern in The Scientist about what she describes as "highly unethical" practices associated with the scientific publication and research funding processes.

Feighery writes that because very few journals are willing to publish "negative data" and because researchers have no obligation or incentive to publish these findings, many failed experiments are duplicated, delaying research and wasting taxpayers' money.

She also points out that most institutions only hire scientists who have published research in top tier journals thus "exclud[ing] most of the world from participating in research at this level." Further exacerbating the problem are funding bodies that only award grants to scientists whose papers have appeared in high-profile journals.

"Curiosity and science go hand-in-hand," she says. "Maybe it's time we became a little more curious about how we have evolved from science-for-the-benefit-of-humanity to science-for-the-benefit-of-relatively-few."

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