For various reasons, Microbiology Laboratories have generally been very protective of their particular methodologies, and methods manuals are often regarded by the laboratory as “intellectual property”. Each laboratory thinks that their way is the best way, possibly even the only way to do things. Laboratories are often reluctant to release any of their “trade secrets” to other, potentially competing laboratories.
However in the internet age, secrets are harder and harder to keep… The concept of intellectual property is slowly but surely disappearing. Protectionism is slowly being replaced by sharing and connectivity.
After I leave NZ in 6 weeks time I plan on doing some locum work in both London and Paris. Over the next few months I am looking forward to seeing how different laboratories (public and private, community and hospital) operate and what different methodologies they use. I will certainly be sharing my experience with them, in the hope that they will not hide any secrets from me…
I think it might be a while though before microbiology methods manuals from laboratories are freely available for public viewing on the internet. That really would be radical!