Nobody own ideas, even when they are your best beloved babies

Aug 01 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

So it happened to me. I got one of my PubMed alerts and there it was: a paper on an idea I had put out in a grant proposal about 2-3 years ago. It wasn't just an idea, of course. It was a well developed proposal for an intervention for a particular pediatric problem, with detailed neurological justification for testing it.

The senior author was on the study section that reviewed three versions of the proposal (the original 2 submissions, and then a "new" one). The introduction and justification for the work is almost plagiarizing my proposal, and the cites are all the same except, of course, my early work.

The paper uses human infants, instead of animal models, and reads a bit hastily done. Working with kids, they can't get the supporting, invasive physiologic data that I record in an animal model.

But.... It still hurts. I couldn't get funded to do the work, and I knew it was a damn good proposal. Mine project was more expensive than taking it to a clinic that sees 200 kids a year with the problems in which I'm interested. Rather than developing the idea, with strong controls, these guys jerry-rigged a device and tested in the sickest kids showing that it made a difference. They demonstrated that what I wanted to do works. It makes a difference. I am glad for the kids it will help. I can still go back and fill in the mechanism, and understand more about how things work, and why things go wrong.

So, no I didn't own the idea. And yes, it was obviously a good one. And life and science and my lab go on.

ALSO: see update here

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