Somewhere in the middle are blogs written by scientists at MRU's who are mostly funded by some major single source (NIH, Big Pharm, ... maybe even Pepsico???) but who, since they are either indy or pseudo, are different than a corporate sponsored blog.
I'm pretty sure I'm the blogger that takes the most heat for NIH funding conflict of interest, because of my topic domain. I'll have to dredge up the links later because they are not overwhelmingly common.
The charge comes from people who don't like my comments about the possible health risks of recreational drugs, most typically when I am talking about cannabis. It comes in two basic flavors.
The ranty flavor is that all scientists funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are nothing more or less than shills for a vast right-wing prohibitionist conspiracy against harmless potsmoking. Shills who do nothing other than fake up research findings to insult the sacred weed, because of course the critics already know pot is totes harmless.
The more thoughtful flavor is the one that suggests that we scientists who are funded by NIDA are not craven, per se. Rather that our
allegiance to dependence on a funding agency which is dedicated to finding health risks of recreational drugs has an influence.
And this one should be taken seriously by all of my readers. I agree.
It is no accident that the profile description of this blogger has always said front and center that I am "NIH funded". I do not do this to brag or establish cred with the audience that comes for the grant-game posts. I anticipated exactly this sort of concern with respect to my comments on drug abuse science topics. I consider this one of the limitations of pseudonymous blogging, i.e., that biases and conflicts are much less readily apparent. Obviously, I've struck my balance.
In my disclaimer tab on the header row, I further emphasize that:
many of the topics under discussion are those for which DrugMonkey may have previously held, currently holds or is actively seeking to hold NIH funding to investigate.The reader is encouraged to read DrugMonkey postings with this in mind.
I have been known to include this on specific posts as well.
The question of the day for you DearReader: Is this enough?
Are you like Laden in that you suspect additional malign influence that you could deduce if you just knew a little more about my research funding? What would you need to know? The topics? The grant numbers? The direct costs and indirect costs? Would that assist you in appropriately calibrating the size of your pinch of salt?
*Even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut. -Anon
Additional reading from Isis the Evil Big Tobacco Funded Scientist