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 [...]
The dichotomy between research that aims at tackling specific societal challenges and blue sky research is not as wide as expected. A new Danish study on the impact of research funded by the last two framework programmes reveals that there may be no contradiction between research being challenge-oriented and being academically influential. This gives food for thought to steer future research policy. Read more [...]
One day, we can imagine that science will truly be open. Before we reach that stage, however, a number of issues have to be tackled. Particularly, when it comes to transparency, more suitable evaluation giving adequate credit for researchers involved in contributing to all aspects of the scientific process, most of which were unaccounted for until now, and optimum use of the availability of very large sets of data. Ultimately, life as a scientist in the era of web 2.0 is bound to change beyond recognition. Read more [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Dear Editor, I was fascinated to read Janna Degener’s interesting piece on university rankings. Rankings are an endlessly interesting subject. It is important to understand why they exist. At a superficial level, they are designed to sell copies of magazines that publish them, or advertising in these publications, or are a commercial undertaking in some other way. More fundamentally, they owe their existence to competition and market forces. World rankings illustrate this point. Read more [...]
There are a number of worldwide university rankings, which are often used as a guide for future education and career progression. These include, among others, the ranking of The Times Higher Education (THE), the QS World University Rankings, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) , also known as the Shanghai Ranking, and the very recently launched U-Multirank, funded by the EU. While some few universities from Western Europe and North America still dominate most of these rankings, there is a trend for the emergence of young universities from newly-industrialised countries such as China and India. Read more [...]
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 [...]
Sascha Friesike is a researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, in Berlin, Germany. His research interests are innovation and creativity, He currently leads a research group called Open Science, which represents a new approach towards research, knowledge and its dissemination. In this exclusive interview to the EuroScientist, he shares his views on how is the current research is changing, due to the influences of the internet.
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