CORRESPONDENCE

Video grant proposals could be exclusionary

We welcome the suggestion to overhaul current research funding mechanisms (see M. Doran et al. Nature https://doi.org/fzs8; 2021), but do not agree that replacing written grant proposals with videos is the way forward.

Recording, editing and producing high-quality videos takes time, technical expertise and access to specialized software and equipment. Michael Doran and his colleagues argue that even a modest video would be more valuable than a written proposal, but we think those with a high production quality will be most likely to succeed. Just as existing procedures can cause particular problems for some researchers (see M. Niedernhuber et al. Nature 591, 34; 2021), requiring video applications could exclude those with impaired vision or hearing, those for whom the grant language is problematic or those with reduced access to video resources.

The assumption that “our peers are not easily bamboozled, nor blinded by bias” is hopeful at best and naive at worst. It has been shown numerous times that science and research funding are not free from bias. Any changes to the funding system should take that into account and aim to ensure equitable access for all researchers.

Nature 592, 26 (2021)

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