The Rogue Experimenters | The New Yorker
ab1630's bookmarks 2020-05-21
"One evening in February, I went to hear a lecture at the Baltimore Underground Science Space, a community lab in a former bottle-top factory. Like several dozen other “biospaces” around the country, bugss, as the lab is known, is animated by a spirit of subversive amateurism. Anybody can go there to learn about, and then do, the kind of cutting-edge bench science—gene editing, synthetic biology—that is generally confined to well-funded academic institutions and private corporations.
...Guerrini feels that D.I.Y. biologists often have a greater commitment than their professional counterparts do to making their work open to scrutiny—and available for free on the Internet. Their research might not be paradigm-shifting, but you or I could access it without having an institutional affiliation or an expensive journal subscription. (We’d have less confidence, of course, that the research was legit.) Among professionals, Guerrini said, “you have the phenomenon of scientists wanting to hold onto their data and sort of dribble it out, because they are responding to incentives around promotion and tenure and intellectual property.”..."