The case against scientific protectionism

Caroline S. Wagner and Calestous Juma in

The steady growth of scientific capacity, the expansion of the Internet, and the hyper-mobility of knowledge has enabled new knowledge producers to join the United States in global science and technology communities.

The issue here is whether the United States can come to see this as a resource rather than a source of competition.

In a networked world, no nation leads or lags in some competitive race. Thankfully, that 20th century technological paradigm is swiftly changing.

Space research is a case in point. In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States and the former Soviet Union were both racing to win the big prizes in the field. When the United States eventually reached the Moon first in 1969, it was seen as a validation of US scientific prowess, which had been shaken by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite.

Cooperation in space science has since replaced this competitive mentality. Today, scientists from Russia, the United States and many other nations work side by side as partners on joint projects. They live and learn together in space, expanding the frontiers of human knowledge.

More here.