13 September 2016 4 Comments
One of the first rules that I learnt when I started as a research whisperer was that grant applications are confidential documents. We should never talk about an application, other than with the applicants.
I’ve seen that rule applied with different levels of stringency at different times.
Think about these questions for a moment:
- Should the very fact that someone is drafting an application be treated as confidential information?
- Should you be able to talk to other people in the research office about a draft application? How widely?
- Should you be able to send an application for internal review? Do you need to check with the applicant first?
- Is an application still confidential after the grants have been announced? Can we put successful grant applications into a library, so that others can learn from great examples?
- If two applicants are working on similar topics, and would gain from working together, can I introduce them to one another? How?
These questions define the borders of confidentiality. Most research offices would have different answers to some or all of these questions.
Lately, I’ve been wondering if confidentiality is the best way to go. Perhaps we have more to gain from broadcasting research ideas widely, than from keeping them close. Read more of this post