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【深度热点】2017诺奖得主经费短缺关闭实验室 吐槽明星科学家

2017-10-09 12:35


  原来吐槽体制并非国人专用!从科研经费到学术出版到千年博后,请听2017新科诺奖Jeffrey Hall的犀利点评。

  前两天,美国 Brandeis 大学退休教授Jeffrey Hall因阐明生物钟的工作机理,与Michael Young和Michael Roshbash分享了2017年诺贝尔生理学奖,一时荣耀加身。Hall是在缅因州乡下家里得知这一消息的,距离他因为经费短缺而被迫关闭实验室,已经十年。接到诺贝尔奖电话的时候,Hall 说,“You‘ve reached me where I’ve lived for many years in the middle of nowhere,Maine,rural Maine。”

  接受记者采访时Hall 说,这个诺贝尔奖完全出乎意料,特别是对于一个脱离生物学基础研究已经十年的人而言。


  从上世纪80年代开始,Hall一直致力于研究生物钟的奥秘,几乎倾注了他一半的职业生涯心血。可是10年前,他终止科学研究的时候,心里并不痛快。2008年,Hall接受Current Biology 的采访,大力抨击了当时的科研经费申请和科学出版偏见。十年后的今天,这些批评依然一针见血。而从一个拥有诺奖光环的“失败者”嘴里听到,感觉更是讽刺。

  Hall抱怨一些大科学明星并未真正挣到他们的地位与荣誉,却不断赢得大量的研究经费。更滑稽的是,这些明星时不时会向他吹嘘,他(她)们几乎从不向Nature,Cell,或者Science 之外的期刊投稿,而且几乎总能在CNS这三大发表。可是,你只要看看,就知道,在你自己熟知的领域,这些文章并不总是那么好:

  I can‘t help feel that some of these‘stars’have not really earned their status。I wonder whether certain such anointees are “famous because they’re famous。”So what?Here’s what:they receive massive amounts of support for their research,absorbing funds that might be better used by others。As an example,one would-be star boasted to me that he’d never send a paper from his lab to anywhere but Nature,Cell,or Science。These submissions always get a foot in the door, at least。 And they are nearly always published in one of those magazines-where,when you see something you know about,you realize that it‘s not always so great。


  Celebrity ‘PI’s,’ have too much in the way of lavished resources.They can and do hire very large numbers of workers, but it is at-best difficult closely to interact with and properly to supervise these bloated numbers of personnel。Such Actual Investigators(AIs)cannot easily gain their boss’s attention;and the latter is unable to provide the required close,ongoing scrutiny of their research。 There is huge pressure on the overworked,anxious AI to bring something ‘great’ to the boss, who wants everything to go to a vanity journal。One outcome of these antics is that some bizarre stuff is salted throughout this overly conspicuous subset of the literature。

  实际上,在接到诺贝尔奖电话的时候,Hall也谈到了这些一线科研工作者:“what I call AIs -actual investigators-like students,post-doctoral supervisees,from the two labs working very closely together,even day by day, So that was enjoyable。”

  记者问到,你是不是过于骄傲而不耻于此,才退休的呢? Hall给出了最严厉的回应,我依然热爱我的这些小果蝇们,仍然能富有成效的与她们交流。因而,我承认,我痛恨自己研究经费用光了:

  Yes and yes。I admit that I resent running out of research money…recent applications from our lab have had their lungs ripped out,often accompanied by sneering,personal denunciations—perhaps reflecting the fact that this old-timer has lost his touch。But, I still love the little flies and claim that my colleagues and I could continue to interact with them productively。


  在Hall眼里,美国乃至世界各地的大学,表现起来就是他们得到教授们的研究经费是天经地义的:去搞项目; 如果不能快速拉来钱,麻烦就在后面等着你; 如果经费不能持续,就算产出再好,也可以卷铺盖回家了。可是,如今,搞研究的学校和人这么多,粥少僧多,项目申请书再好,也未必能得到资助。


  Having said all this,I acknowledge that “I got mine” from the government over the course of many years. Thus,as I say so long,”one component of my last-gasp disquiet stems from pompously worrying about biologists who are starting out or are in mid-career。

  不过,Hall也非常清楚的说了,I still love the little flies and claim that my colleagues and I could continue to interact with them productively。 中国各地都在大力建设诺奖实验室,诺奖研究院,诺奖孵化区,经费都是亿级的。有兴趣的,不妨联系Jeffrey Hall教授,也许我们又能引进一个诺奖科学家了,但是,我们也不妨想想,Hall 的批评和经历,对于中国学术界而言,是不是也有一些启迪呢?


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