Funding agencies allocate funds for scientific research mainly based on peer-review of research proposals.
In 2010, more than 15,000 researchers peer-reviewed more than 55,000 proposals. I think we can all agree that the current process is expensive and time-consuming. Now, the authors of a new article propose a new system that they believe will save us lots of time, money and trouble. The article is called “Collective allocation of science funding: from funding agencies to scientific agency,” by Johan Bollen (of the Twitter-predicts-stock market fame), David Crandall, Damion Junk, Ying Ding and Katy Börner.
Basically, the authors would like to give each scientist (they focus on the U.S., but I suppose the system would work in other countries) a certain amount of money for research, of which she or he will have to send a percentage to other scientists who do research they consider funding-worthy. Every researcher gets the same amount, no matter which institute she resides in, from the government. However, the sum she gets from other researchers will depend on her skills and performance as a researcher. The authors give the following example; suppose every senior researcher in the US gets 100,000$ each year and a certain researcher received, in addition, 200,000$ from other researchers. She’s obligated to give 50%, or 150,000$ to other researchers, and save the rest for her own research. It’ll save lots of time and money that are now spent on writing proposals and peer-reviewing.
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