Breaking down the walls of scientific secrecy | CBC News

Getting scooped by a competing researcher is one of a scientist’s biggest fears. And some of the most important discoveries in medical history have been tainted by competitive controversy.

Back in 1952, before he co-discovered the structure of DNA, James Watson got access to Rosalind Franklin’s revolutionary X-ray image of DNA without her knowledge.

That image, known as Photo 51, was a major clue that helped Watson and Francis Crick complete their Nobel Prize-winning discovery. The lack of credit given to Franklin remains a stain on the story of their breakthrough.

But what if Franklin had been informally publishing her research notes all along?

“She would have gotten credit instantly for her contribution,” said Susan Lamb, a historian of medicine who holds the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the University of Ottawa….”