I happened to stumble upon this article about a program called scientists without borders. It’s basically a web 2.0 project much like jove, but with focus on interactivity and network building for scientist around the world with goal of negating some of the more significant effects of brain drain across the globe rather than sharing physical data or research protocols. Wonderful stuff, somewhat of expected and perhaps even redundant with all the ‘community’ sites aimed at various strata of the world popping up all over the place, but still it’s nice to see that someone in this world noticed the negative effects of professional brain drain and is attempting to do something about it (I’m looking at you, United Nations). Perhaps this program can also work in favor of certain people of professional learning scraping dishes in remoter corners of the globe simply due to the problems of accessibility, rather than lack of talent or diligence. Such waste of men/womenpower always bothered me.
The problem of brain drain is a serious issue. It had been as long as anyone can remember. However, just like the field of synthetic biology which, despite being of opensource nature (reflecting the roots of the movement based on informations technology), can’t establish itself without significant industrial presence of genome synthesizing and computerization facilities, science utilizing web 2.0 concept itself won’t work well without some sort of physical international distribution network that would make it possible for remoter corners of the globe to have access to the more sophisticated laboratories and equipments available in richer nations.
Application of the web 2.0 and related human network philosophy (…engineering?) ethos is only beginning, of course. What we see right now will not even remotely be close to what we will see in the future, and all I can say at the moment regarding the matter are mere speculations. However, am I too far gone in predicting that in the future the science community might be able to reap the benefits of an international laboratory that does the lab work ‘contracted’ from scientists around the globe regardless of nationality and location?