a journal of a researcher

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Managed research

Can research be managed? Can your papers be ordered before you work on it? Can you produce the exact results your boss asks you to do? Can you convince your boss what you want to do?

When your research is asked to mix with issues other than your own scientific interests, for example the priorities from federal or provincial government, your research is managed. You need to consider the following cost:

  1. You need to satisfy not only scientific criteria, but also additional internal administrative criteria. Sometimes, the internal administrative criteria are more difficult to reach than the criteria brought up by the funding agency. For example, you are asked to develop a local partner before your director can approve your proposal.
  2. You need to spend 2-3 years to develop your contacts in a new application area and know enough to publish in this area.
  3. You need to get signatures from more than your group leader to get your proposals/papers out of your door.
  4. You cannot work with the best researchers in the world, because it is not up to you with whom you work with. You find yourself are frequently sitting with people who are good in talking, not action.

I propose a theorem in research management: if you are managed other than your group leader, you are in a research environment that is over managed.


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