I was going back over the entries I’ve published so far and noticed a distinct negativity focused at researchers. I don’t want this to become a theme here.
Society places a lot of trust in scientists. Moreover, they invest significant amounts of their hard earned dollars in us, so we can explore nature in ways that we find interesting. Therefore I feel as scientists, we must hold ourselves to a high standard and when we see misconduct, or possible misconduct, we have an obligation to speak out against it.
Having said that, I think it’s just as important to recognize amazing contributions by scientists.
High-level semi-synthetic production of the potent antimalarial artemisinin, published in Nature earlier this year, describes the engineering of a yeast strain to produce industrial quantities of artemisinin; an important drug for developing countries. What’s amazing about this work is that the authors gave up all intellectual property rights to this valuable technology in the hopes that it will be used to actually help people in developing countries, instead of commercializing it and profiting off their hard work.
It’s a fantastic example of taking fundamental research through to application and releasing it for the betterment of society.
Paddon, C. J., et al. 2013, Nature