Ever heard of the saying, “sharing is caring”? In chapter seven of Rigor Mortis, Richards Harris talks about how scientist and labs aren’t sharing their work or findings. Apparently, certain labs are starting to have reputations. One lab find share all of their findings, and journals will publish articles, and other scientists will build on that success and move the field forward. But another lab will just keep all of its findings to themselves. To me, this just seems unreasonable and selfish. What’s the point of just keeping all of your, probably extraordinary, findings when you could be saving someone’s life?
Take the flu for example. The flu is a virus with many different strains because it multiplies and mutates very quickly, so it is something that a lot of scientists research. But, because the flu is so closely connected with the lives of basically everyone in America, it can be very important to share findings with the public. According to Steven Salzberg, many leading flu researchers won’t share samples, but they want NIH money to sequence their samples. “They wanted NIH money to sequence their flu samples, but they wanted to sequence them and sit on them instead of depositing them in the public database.” The medical field, all parts of it, are supposed to be about helping people, and doing your job to save lives. To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re right up in the action or just a researcher. Any little thing that you do can save someone’s life, and the fact that some scientists prefer to keep those findings to themselves baffles me. You are in medicine because you want to help people. Not for you’re own personal gain.
It is a lot easier for people to be mean or selfish if all they see in a computer screen or a microscope. That’s why people cyberbully, because they don’t have to deal with looking a person in the eye and telling them horrible things. I think that those researchers that withhold important information are almost as bad. I don’t think that they could look a patient in the eye and tell them that they won’t share their samples, even if it would save their life. I don’t think that anyone could do that. Salzberg also said, “If you ask a patient is it okay to share your data with every scientist who’s working on your type of cancer, of course they’ll say yes. That’s why their doing it. But the researchers don’t ask that question! I’d like to see that change.” I’d like to see that too.