Tag Archives: Research Evaluation

Spain, the European exception: ‘economic miracle’ & scientific suicide

Six years ago, the Spanish parliament approved Law 14/2011, known as the Science Law, aiming to modernise and harmonise different aspects of scientific activity in Spain, by a virtually unanimous vote. Today, Spanish scientists are still waiting for the law to be fully implemented; more than three and half years after the deadline for implementation has passed.In this article, the 5s6s Platform, a grassroots movement of Spanish scientists, including about 400 tenured scientists working in OPIs,  supported by another >1300 scientists working in different Spanish Universities and other research institutions,  denounces this untenable situation and requests that the Government finally implements the law. Read more [...]
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Data sharing shifts scientific culture

Reproducibility of research is at the heart of science. However, old habits die hard. And the custom of making all data fully available so that others can reproduce them is not yet fully ingrained in scientists' modus operandi. Some likely changes that may encourage data sharing include the introduction of training modules on good sharing practice and the practice of crediting the author of the original data set used in new work. These could go a long way towards unlocking the reproducibility challenge. Read more [...]
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Forget citations for unbiased research evaluation

To what extent the success of scientific articles is due to social influence? A recent study analyses a data set of over 100,000 publications authored by more than 160,000 authors in the field of computer science. The authors provide the first large-scale study of the relation between the notion of centrality of authors in the co-authorship network and the future success of their publications. This leads the authors, who specialise in data driven modelling of complex systems at the Chair of Systems Design at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, to predict with high precision whether an article will be highly cited five years after publication. Such insight into the social dimension of scientific publishing challenges the perception of citations being an objective, socially unbiased measure of scientific success. Read more [...]
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Overcoming unconscious gender bias in science evaluation

Never thought of being gender biased when performing evaluations? Scientists often consider themselves to be rational and objective. But a growing batch of literature suggests the opposite. Particularly, when it comes to evaluating research. Male and female scientists alike tend to implicitly undervalue women’s scientific accomplishments. A 2012 EU-report, identifies unconscious bias in assessing excellence as one of the major problems women face in science. Read more [...]
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Levelling the research field for small countries: a case study of Wales

Europe is a small continent populated by a range of small countries. Several of the smaller, high-income countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland are rightly recognised for producing and exploiting their high quality research. Other smaller countries, however, have tended to receive less attention despite being potentially as effective or even more so compared to their larger counterparts. They are nevertheless keen to demonstrate their standing relative to their size or resources. Such assessments are important, given that the quality of the research base is increasingly employed as an indication of a sector or country’s reputation and ability to compete successfully in the global economy. Read more [...]
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Research evaluation

Welcome to this special issue of the EuroScientist focusing on the evolving solution for research evaluation! The very existence of scientific career progression hinges on researchers being judged by their peers. Yet, technology is bringing disruption in what was until now a well-oiled peer-review system. The upcoming generation of scientists is likely to be evaluated through an evolved versions of peer-review. Read more [...]
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Evaluation moves in mysterious ways

With the development of web-based technologies, the new generation of scientists, often referred to as digital natives, will not be evaluated in the same way as previous generation scientists, the digital migrants. This creates a generational divide. It also could create some potential tensions between them. Read more [...]
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Mentors, mates or metrics: what are the alternatives to peer review?

You think that scientists, being quite clever people, would be able to agree on the best way to rank each other's work. Oh no, not any longer. For this article, the EuroScientist asked Science, Cell and Nature as well as eLife and independent commentators to go on the record with their thoughts on how they see the peer review system, as it stands, and what alternatives should be considered. Read more [...]
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Evaluation: dogma of excellence replaced by scientific diversity

The current dogma says that the largest part of available research funds must be assigned only to the best scientists. This way, researchers are put in competition with each other . Only a small fraction will be able to obtain the research funds needed to fully develop their own scientific projects. There is a fundamental flaw in this strategy. If some competition is good for public research, it is clear that there is a threshold beyond which competition creates more adverse than positive effects. Read more [...]
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The academic evaluation conundrum

Mary Phillips has worked as an academic in biomedical sciences at Oxford University, UK, as a funder with the Wellcome Trust, in London, and as director of research planning for University College London. Find out her unique perspective on the limitations of the existing evaluation systems, be it for academic institutions or individual scientists. In this exclusive interview with the EuroScientist, she shares the lessons learned from her various positions related to academia. Read more [...]
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How well do academics react to being measured?

Academics love to measure things. But how well do they react to being measured? In the UK, that question has been thrown into sharp focus by the Research Excellence Framework, dubbed REF. It is a massive exercise, in which every university in the land has been invited, to prove the quality of the research it undertakes. Read more [...]
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Collaborative open science speeds up research evaluation

Science is changing. The widespread reach of the internet means we can access more papers and connect with more researchers than ever before. With the growing adoption of open access policies around the world this trend is only set to increase. As a result, scientists’ ability to collaborate effectively over long distances is now a key challenge for scientists at all stages of their career. Read more [...]
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