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Remove the pressure from Academia !

Posted by druilhe on 12 Nov 2014 at 11:12 GMT

The publication system is heavily inflated (and biased) by the use Academia makes of publications to decide on the future of a researcher.
One cannot expect researchers to be saints! When their recruitment, promotion from PhD to post-doc, to assistant, to full professor, their access to grants, etc depends on their publication record it means, ultimately, that their survival, that of their family, the education of their children, etc… is publication-dependant.. This in turn creates incredibly heavy pressure to publish, and it should not come as a surprise that quality can be sacrificed for quantity.

This has not always been the case: initially publications were used to communicate results. However, progressively, Universities and Research Institutions have delegated the rating and assessment of their staff to scientific journals.
I am old enough, in an old enough country, to have seen a time when researchers just “worked” and communicated the outcome of their work by submitting an article at about 3-5 year intervals. Evaluation of their output (and right to remain paid as a researcher) resulted mostly from an interview with peers.
As soon as publications were used for quality assessment, the number of scientific journals began to rocket exponentially, whereas scientific progress may not have been in proportion.
It is the academic world that has created the monster, the Law of the cumulative Impact Factor, and its multi-facetted consequences.
It is not too late. Changing the currency to ensure more publications will be true is still within reach…

No competing interests declared.