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March 1968

The Fountain Report: The Fine Line Between Efficiency and Effectivity

Arch Ophthalmol. 1968;79(3):231. doi:10.1001/archopht.1968.03850040233001

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MOST persons reading the Fountain Report (Ninth Report by the Committee on Government Operations, Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, Oct 20, 1967) and the comments of its critics will be lost in a welter of pious statements to which both sides, I suspect, agree. It all depends on how one looks at it. Congressman Fountain and his Congressional Committee men give the impression that cost and administrative efficiency should be paramount, while the adversaries, probably comprising the majority of scientists, argue that the job must be done effectively at all reasonable costs. The scientists insist on a freedom to think creatively without undue sacrifice of time and effort for the fiscal mechanics that necessarily preoccupy the minds of accountants and auditors.

Abundant evidence has shown that p roductive research cannot always be efficiently organized. This is the dilemma with which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have had to

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