17,493 ways to hold universities more accountable

Little kid with abacus

Until university leaders can supply politicians with better approaches to accountability, they’re just going to count. In Norway right now, we’re in the midst of counting season. And because of the sharp folks at Current Research Information System in Norway, we have detailed numbers. (Disclosure: I’m the head of the board at CRIStin.) Along with… Read More…

The shocking truth about the quality of research: it’s not getting better

Building Concept Stable Object

That’s the conclusion of a new report studying 10 years of well-documented research activity. Since 2004, the Norwegian government has carefully classified all scholarly publications produced by Norwegian researchers. The system for tracking publications has just been evaluated. The review shows that the quantity of papers published has exploded. But the quality has remained unchanged…. Read More…

How to take charge of science policy: making research more visible

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Governments can get lost in counting; in the worst case, they lose sight of the policy goals that some measurement is supposed to facilitate. In Norway, our system for rewarding universities for scientific publications is under review. As politicians begin processing the recommendations for change, perhaps the most important step they can take is to… Read More…

3 simple distinctions your government should eliminate from its research financing system

book pile of books

Governments develop elaborate strategies for documenting, evaluating and re-directing the activities of universities. To satisfy their legitimate need to demonstrate that public funds are being well-spent, those of us who work at universities must accept responsibility for telling about the benefits we offer society. While this should not be difficult, we are at times possibly… Read More…

Do you make these 6 mistakes? A funding scheme that turns professors into typing monkeys

monkeys-typing

If an infinite number of monkeys would spend eternity banging away on an infinite number of typewriters, eventually they would produce the complete works of Shakespeare. So says the ubiquitous Infinite Monkey Theorem and the Theory of Accidental Excellence it inspired. Sometimes I wonder if Émile Borel’s thought experiment is also the rationale for the Norwegian model of research funding…. Read More…

How the internet can make knowledge disappear and 2 ways to stop it

receiving data 3d illustration

Knowledge is vulnerable. It’s hard to come by and far too often, it disappears. Every researcher on the planet surely has some result lying in a drawer, not being shared, largely unknown. Maybe it’s not up to their standards yet, or perhaps it’s a negative result. More likely, they tried to publish it, but the process… Read More…

What Science — and the Gonzo Scientist — got wrong: open access will make research better

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Science is arguably the most important magazine in the world of research. Recently, Science published a blistering critique of the most sacred cow of scientific research, namely the peer review quality system. Unfortunately, Science doesn’t seem to have understood what it has done. They say they’ve run a sting operation — written by the Gonzo Scientist, John Bohannon — revealing… Read More…

4 ways open access enhances academic freedom

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Are politicians stealing our academic freedom? Is their fetish with open access publishing leading to a “pay to say” system for the rich? Will the trendy goal of making publicly financed research freely available skew the world of scholarship even more in the direction of the natural sciences? I don’t think so. But it took… Read More…

Why you can’t trust research: 3 problems with the quality of science

Titanic-underwater

Traditional scientific communication directly threatens the quality of scientific research. Today’s system is unreliable — or worse! Our system of scholarly publishing reliably gives the highest status to research that is most likely to be wrong. This system determines the trajectory of scientific careers. The longer we stick with it, the more likely it will… Read More…

Open Evaluation: 11 sure steps – and 2 maybes – towards a new approach to peer review

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Open Evaluation will improve science. Researchers constantly evaluate each other — when we submit our results for publication, when we apply for grants, and when we apply for new jobs or promotions. Peer evaluation is our quality assurance strategy. And it needs to be better. Here are thirteen suggestions to include in a new system of Open Evaluation. Click here to read more…