new paper about alternative science funding system (EMBO REPORTS - 10.1002/embr.201338068_

Johan Bollen jbollen at INDIANA.EDU
Wed Jan 8 10:38:44 EST 2014

Thought this might be of interest:

Johan Bollen, David Crandall, Damion Junk, Ying Ding & Katy Borner (2014) From funding agencies to scientific agency: Collective allocation of science funding as an alternative to peer review. EMBO Reports 15(1), 1 - 121

"We would like to add another alternative inspired by the mathematical models used to search the internet for relevant information: a highly decentralized funding model in which the wisdom of the entire scientific community is leveraged to determine a fair distribution of funding. It would still require human insight and decision‐making, but it would drastically reduce the overhead costs and may alleviate many of the issues and inefficiencies of the proposal submission and peer review system, such as bias, “playing it safe”, or reluctance to support curiosity‐driven research.

Our proposed system would require funding agencies to give all scientists within their remit an unconditional, equal amount of money each year. However, each scientist would then be required to pass on a fixed percentage of their previous year's funding to other scientists whom they think would make best use of the money (Fig 1). Every year, then, scientists would receive a fixed basic grant from their funding agency combined with an elective amount of funding donated by their peers. As a result of each scientist having to distribute a given percentage of their previous year's budget to other scientists, money would flow through the scientific community. Scientists who are generally anticipated to make the best use of funding will accumulate more."

Johan Bollen, Associate Professor
School of Informatics and Computing
Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research
Indiana University, Bloomington
jbollen at, +1 812 856 1833

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