Quicksand and Riding the Waves

It has been a while since I have blogged, I have been writing though so I am very happy about that (Yay Papers!!). I will eventually get back to my scientific journey (1, 2, and 3) it has been a lot of fun guest blogging for #BLACKandSTEMScilogs, and being involved in a great discussion on open access data with F1000.

Today I want to talk about quicksand. You know, that speech from Falco in the movie the replacements. Anyway, it quicksand is akin to snowballing one problem after another after another. It happens in lab. It happens in life. For some people, there are bad weeks, and there are really bad weeks. Sometimes we are on a boat drifting off in the water and people are throwing rocks at us. Sometimes those rocks are not being thrown at us, but past us and it is meant for us to ride the waves back to shore, or to something bigger and better, or a new direction altogether.

boat troubled water

(Someone near and dear to me just submitted their first paper and I have seen a lot of rocks thrown their way. I could not be more proud. It is a reminder of what a human spirit can overcome.)

What could that new direction be for us? With limited funding, having top labs race to a finish it not the most efficient way of doing things, collaboration and relying on each other’s strengths is. No one likes being scooped and just think of how much money is lost in that process. Reagents, time, and salaries all wasted.

Where do we start to fix this?

It can start in our own labs and institutions where there should be no internal lab competition or institutional competition. It can start at science meetings where people can be honest. It can start by being an idealist (which I know I am being right now), and shunning the people who intentionally try to scoop others.

Well, I know you have to play the game until you can change the game. I’d love to have that opportunity someday.