Friday, February 15, 2008

Paleontology – The very late adaptors?

Even though one would think that the systematic nature of paleontology would lend itself well to computer-based approaches, the paleo community has been surprisingly slow to accept these new tools into their mainstream approaches. In the past years, from the perspective of science funding agencies, paleontology and taxonomy were not considered to be "sexy hot issues". Application of paleontology to climate research was fine, but systematic biology was "old school". The fragmentation of the community did not help its cause.

In fact, the closed-shop mentality of some groups has lead to the demise of promising, well funded projects, which were subsequently axed by the funding organisations. These projects had suffocated from their own arrogance.

Is there a lesson to be learnt? Science funders go a lot by what the scientific community wants. And maybe, in the context of web-based stuff, the emphasis should be on service – not on authority.

No comments: