Controversies in science often centre on methodology and integrity; these are the gatekeepers of proper science. But what exactly defines proper science as proper is not universal, especially in collaborative fields of enquiry where different perspectives meet. These encounters often result in friction, yet may equally give rise to new perspectives on proper science. A tour of collaborative endeavours like structural biology and nutrigenomics highlights some of those frictions and the controversies that can result from the encounter of 'wet' and 'dry' science. Attuning scientists to the plurality of proper science may safeguard many a scientist's integrity from being questioned unjustly. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.