In many fields of academia, a professor must get grants to fund his research (e.g., medicine, biology).
Early in academic career, a scientist can have naive expectations about how things work in academia and later may be surprised by the reality. One such surprise is the compete and collaborate paradox.
Later in career, it may be not so simple to collaborate and share fully your ideas, since twice a year (or so) we all submit grants and we suddenly are less friendly colleagues who share ideas, but we compete with each other or between "groups". For example, we don't let anyone see our full grant submissions. (e.g., NIH medical grants - full text must be requested by freedom of information act and only abstracts are on the web).
How do you handle in every day life, at conferences, in hallway conversations this paradox of collaborating and competing at the same time in academia?
How do you determine what to share?
Do you avoid colleagues who are known to 'tell only the minimum' at congresses and then surprise later with an accepted grant?
Philosophically, is impossible to collaborate and compete at the same time and one has to have some ethical structure but everyone's boundaries seem to be different!