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Perlstein’s Princeton Perspective: A Completely Unique Approach to Academia

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Ethan Perlstein is an evolutionary pharmacologist at Princeton. What exactly does this mean? Perlstein gets that question a lot. So he created a short film to explain the concept and the specifics of his research.


Perlstein’s commitment to communicating his work doesn’t stop there. He’s determined to take open science to the next level by attempting something that has yet to be accomplished in the academic world: he wants to crowd-fund his entire research programme.

“Politicians do it! Why not Scientists? It’s so difficult for scientists to get creative – there are so many administrative hoops to jump through. Imagine taking an entirely new approach to the scientific process”

Perlstein has invested a lot of time and energy into creating his brand, a term that is generally either foreign or taboo in the academic world. His main research website is a combination of information related to his work and an up to date source of stories, links and data that is free to anyone who is interested in it. The point is to have a completely transparent and open research model, so that collaborations and parallel projects can build on each other, rather than compete.

By making all of his endeavors public, Perlstein is setting the scene for a possible future as the world’s first crowd-funded principal investigator. I look forward to following him on this journey!

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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