Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

To make progress we must remember and learn from the past

Indira Samarasekera calls for more effective collaboration among universities, governments and the private sector in her Opinion article (Nature 462, 160–161; 2009). Her arguments are not new — they have been central to research policy and sociology of science debates for more than 60 years (see, for example, V. Bush Science: The Endless Frontier US Office of Scientific Research and Development; 1945).

Today's tools for efficient literature searches are on hand to prevent old debates from continually resurfacing. Keeping track of developing ideas by conscientious referencing is essential. Then, to act upon what has been learned, we must remember. As scientists, we remember collectively through cited publications.

This particular debate is important because it challenges the very core of science by discussing how and why knowledge is made, used and mobilized. We should be drawing on the valuable insights from previous decades in our attempts to set a new social contract for science.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Penders, B., Vermeulen, N. & Parker, J. To make progress we must remember and learn from the past. Nature 463, 157 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/463157d

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/463157d

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing