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Impact, not impact factor

Inder Verma, PNAS editor-in-chief – 2 juli 2015

Editor-in-chief of PNAS Inder Verma states:”When it comes to judging the quality and significance of a body of work, there is no substitute for qualitative assessment. And it bears repeating that the impact factor is not an article-level metric, nor was it intended as a yardstick for comparing researchers’ scholarly contributions. However, at many institutions performance assessments hinge greatly on this number, which currently wields outsize influence on the advancement of scientific careers.”

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Nature Outlook: Assessing science

Nature – 24 juli 2014

The issue of how to evaluate the fruits of academic research confronts scientists and policymakers all over the world. Each country has its own set of circumstances depending on its research infrastructure and wealth as well as its economic, environmental and developmental objectives. Australia and New Zealand might be neighbours, but their programmes of research assessment are very different. Focusing on the tools and methods used to measure the quality and impact of science in Australia and New Zealand should inform similar debates throughout the scientific world.

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Fraud in science: a plea for a new culture in research

Editorial European Journal of Clinical Nutrition – 7 april 2014

The problem of research misconduct has to be offensively addressed in all its diverse shades within universities, research institutions, institutes and work groups. Guidelines of good scientific practice are already part of the daily work at many places, but they are just a first step towards a transparent and diverse research culture.

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Causes for the Persistence of Impact Factor Mania

Arturo Casadevall & Ferric C. Fang – 18 maart 2014

Causes for the Persistence of Impact Factor Mania. Science and scientists are currently afflicted by an epidemic of mania manifested by associating the value of research with the journal where the work is published rather than the content of the work itself. The mania is causing profound distortions in the way science is done that are deleterious to the overall scientific enterprise.

 

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Selling science to Nature

Sarah de Rijcke – 8 januari 2014

The fact that articles in top journals serve as de facto proxies for the quality of researchers is perhaps not problematic in itself (or is it?). But it certainly becomes tricky if these same journals increasingly treat short-term news-worthiness as an important criterion in their publishing policies, and if peer review committee work also increasingly revolves around selecting those projects that are most likely to have short-term success.

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Universities putting research before teaching, says minister

Peter Walker, in The Guardian – 21 oktober 2013

David Willetts says higher education system lopsided, as survey shows students receiving less feedback than 50 years ago. Universities need a “cultural change” towards teaching, the universities minister, David Willetts, has argued, as a survey of UK undergraduates showed they were being set less work and received notably less tutor feedback than did their peers 50 years ago.

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SCIENCE IN SOCIETY: Caring for our Futures in Turbulent Times

European Science Foundation – 25 september 2013

Now is really the time to rethink the relationship between science and society in its multiple manifestations. Says the European Science Foundation. Because there was a time where a ‘social contract’ successfully ring-fenced the autonomy of the scientific enterprise against any social scrutiny, on the promise of scientific research being beneficial for the public good in the long run. But over the last decades this social contract has often been revisited, particularly as all public expenditure has been fiercely scrutinised.

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San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

DORA – 9 september 2013

A group of scientists and publishers recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scientific research are evaluated. They advise not to use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.

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Scientific fraud and normal Science

Ruud Abma – 30 mei 2013

The standard definition of scientific fraud involves: fabrication (faking data entirely), falsification (manipulating data in order to make the results look good) and plagiarism (theft of intellectual property). Implicitly, it is assumed that the actions have been done intentionally. Intention also constitutes the boundary between fraud and sloppiness. Until recently, the incidence of scientific fraud was unknown.

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Our Universities: The Outrageous Reality

Andrew Delbanco – 26 juni 2015

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Our Universities: The Outrageous Reality by Andrew Delbanco | The New York Review of Books “At the top of the prestige pyramid, in highly selective colleges like those of the Ivy League, students from the bottom income quartile in our society make up around 5 percent of the enrollments.”

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Center for Open Science

Science in Transition – 1 juni 2017

Center for Open Science is dedicated to improving the alignment between scientific values and scientific practices. As a non-profit technology start-up, our team moves quickly from problem to solution, and continuously evaluates and improves our solutions. We blend science and technology in support of open science – transparency and inclusivity.

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Science Funding and Short-Term Economic Activity

Science – 4 april 2014

There is considerable interest among policy-makers in documenting short-term effects of science funding. A multiyear scientific journey that leads to long-term fruits of research, such as a moon landing, is more tangible if there is visible nearer-term activity, such as the presence of astronauts. Yet systematic data on such activities have not heretofore existed. The only source of information for describing the production of most science is surveys that have been called “a rough estimate, frequently based on unexamined assumptions that originated years earlier”

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How to increase value and reduce waste when research priorities are set

The Lancet – 8 januari 2014

The increase in annual global investment in biomedical research—reaching US$240 billion in 2010—has resulted in important health dividends for patients and the public. However, much research does not lead to worthwhile achievements, partly because some studies are done to improve understanding of basic mechanisms that might not have relevance for human health. Additionally, good research ideas often do not yield the anticipated results.

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Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity

Michael Hiltzik, in LA Times – 27 oktober 2013

Researchers are rewarded for splashy findings, not for double-checking accuracy. So many scientists looking for cures to diseases have been building on ideas that aren’t even true. In today’s world, brimful as it is with opinion and falsehoods masquerading as facts, you’d think the one place you can depend on for verifiable facts is science. You’d be wrong. Many billions of dollars’ worth of wrong.

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An Agenda for Change

Huub Dijstelbloem, Frank Huisman, Frank Miedema, Wijnand Mijnhardt – 22 oktober 2013

On the basis of an agenda, Science in Transition wishes to inspire a broad discussion in order to explore the nature of the situation, the possibilities and desirability of improvement and the parties that are best suited to take the initiative.

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A perspective from the board room

Frank Miedema – 8 oktober 2013

Our academic community must realize that in this modern world of science, the public and government in return on investment want to see us producing Real Knowledge that addresses real felt societal needs and problems.

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