Re: free information

From:Karen Pawlowski <>


I don't think you'll need your asbestos suit for my reply, but I do 
think you're oversimplifying things.  It is one thing to have written 
information about a technique and another thing to have the mastery to 
put that technique into practice.  

The private labs that I am aware of hire certified technicians
to do the work. Often this is required for hospitals or pharaceutical
companies to use their service. Since for these labs time is money, it
benefits them most to hire more experienced people who will get the 
work done in the most efficient manner. 

What I have noticed as a by-stander, is that the medical center that I
used to work at started increasing it's clinical technicians salary due
to the new competition from a private lab in the area.  The private lab
still paid more, but the figures were closer together.

As for trade secrets in histology, if it can't be replicated by another
lab., it isn't worth much. I feel this is especially true with 
immunohistochemistry.  Even if you run all the necessary controls, your
results have to agree with the results other people get.

And as for Doctors and Lawyers, etc. giving out free advice, check the 
Web. a little closer.  There are newsgroups and chat rooms for all sorts
of professions.  I've gotten e-mail replys from Doctors on the web that
I have never met, concerning ailments of my siblings. My husband gets
questions answered regarding his area, computer hardware and software, 
all the time. 

No one gives out all their knowledge, but HOPEFULLY it is a
of this knowledge and not simply the title that makes people think of
an individual as a professional. In my 20+ years of being in a research
environment, I have known people (MDs/PhDs) who made themselves look 
more intelligent than they really were by parroting information from 
their students and assistants without truly understanding what they are 
talking about and without explaining where the information came from.  
It may work for a short while, but eventually it catches up with them, 
when people want to know more and the person parroting the information 
can't elaborate. Yes, sometimes they can go back to their "source" and 
get more information, but often if they can't elaborate on the spot, 
people (their peers or representatives of granting agencies)are dubious 
of where the information is really coming from. 

Just my opinion to add fuel to the discussion.

Karen Pawlowski, Ph.D. 

"Jonathan R. Oppenheimer" wrote:
> I agree that was an excellent point. How's about this. More and more private
> histology labs are popping up since the reimbursement for making slides has
> increased. Since there are only so many specimens in the world to divvy up,
> all labs are in constant competition with one another. The knowledge of how
> to do special stains, immunohistochemistry, etc is really intellectual
> property imparted to technologists during training, conferences, and
> on-the-job experiences. The best strategy for a technician to improve the
> well-being of her own lab is NOT to share trade "secrets" which other labs
> need. True, competition makes us all better, but aren't new (and especially
> financier-backed commercial) labs getting a great deal by getting the info
> without having to hire  the experienced techs to get the knowledge? Does
> this not help them hire one knowledgable foreman and then train people off
> the street to crank out the routine cases in slide-mills? What happens to
> the prestige and hourly wages of histotechs then?
> Hey, I'm all for free knowledge. . . in theory.  I just don't think that
> lawyers, doctors, and other professionals give out their knowledge for free
> when it is exactly this knowledge that makes others think of them as
> professional.
> Just thinkin' out loud. Excuse me while I jump into my asbestos suit as I
> prepare myself for the ensuing flames that are about to come my direction.
> ----------------------------------------
> In a message dated 7/11/2001 2:24:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> Cathy in a since we are all getting a paycheck to use this free service.
> Any question related to our work can be posted here no matter how mundane
> or simple the question. when we tell our bosses we have an answer to a
> problem and then they turn around

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