Translational research gets “lost in the citation valley”

donderdag 20 oktober 2016

Three UMC Utrecht researchers make a plea for changing the academic reward system to improve translational medicine. This should start “by moving away from a myopic focus on publications”, they state. Because “a publication is a report to the scientific community that moves the field forward. It is a crucial link in the chain of science. But it should cease to be considered an end product”.

The Utrecht reseachers describe how the discovery of possible new drugs is typically published in journals with high impact factors, while “subsequent translational stages are typically described in specialized journals of lower impact, or they may not be published at all to protect intellectual property. In some cases, only failed chemical series are published in the literature, whereas leads for clinical development are sequestered within companies as trade secrets”.

Translational research as well as blue-sky science would benefit from assessment criteria that take into account performance and innovative potential beyond the impact of publications.

The comment appears in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Authors Gerard Pasterkamp, Berent Prakken and Imo Hoefer are at the University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands and at the Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine, Siracusa, Italy.

The UMC Utrecht website features a Dutch news item about the Nature Biotechnology piece.

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