May 3, 2014

SHOCKER: Report: Too Much Regulation Is Hurting Scientists.

Faculty members in the sciences spend too long on burdensome administrative work, at the expense of their other, more meaningful duties, argues a report out today from the National Science Board. The report, called “Reducing Investigators’ Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research,” is based on the work of the board’s Task Force on Administrative Burdens, which asked professors to identify through roundtable discussions and requests for information which federal and internal university procedures and requirements were the biggest drains on their time. Financial management, the grant proposal process, progress reports, institutional review boards, and layers of oversight related to working with animals all were common responses.

How many brilliant discoveries of yore would have made it through the process that we have today? It’s a decent system for worker-bee researchers seeking incremental knowledge, but it probably drives away real creatives — or at least burdens them mightily.

This is a theme of the Suffocated Science blog.