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Rooms in the evaluation of scientists

Rooms in the evaluation of scientists

If it is not a revolution, it is at least a paradigm shift for thousands of researchers. Gradually, research operators and funders (organizations, universities, agencies, etc.) are abandoning one of their favorite assessment tools: journal impact factors.

Behind this ambiguous name hides a calculation, based on how often a newspaper is cited in research articles. The index and its derivatives were invented in the 1960s to help libraries manage their index, have proven themselves as a guarantee of quality (the higher the index, the more reliable the journal’s reputation and reliability is in consideration), and are used to classify newspapers, countries, or researchers. So much so that countries indicate salaries according to this scale, or even that in France, a portion of hospital research budgets is distributed using these indicators. Metrics powerfully shaped research, Remembers Cherifa Boukassem, professor of information science at Claude Bernard Lyon I University. We started thinking about “publishing” and no longer “research”. We are no longer trying to produce knowledge, but we are wondering what kind of article it would be interesting to do. “

In recent months, in France, as in other countries, changes have been made to the various evaluation files of requests for promotion, funding or recruitment to correct these errors.

At the National Center for Scientific Research for example, we no longer expect a list of publications, but rather a limited number of “products”, including research articles, but also Computer codes, videos, protocols, patents… Even an exhaustive list of publications is no longer required. For career advancement, the candidate must award 40 subjective points in various aspects of his work: scientific activity, training, teaching, promotion, assuming collective responsibilities, participation in subjects or jobs…Other details, candidates must Explain the personal contribution they have made: Are they the experiment designers, supervisors, or analysts? The newspapers themselves begin to request this information, which is useful to get out of discussions about the authors’ position in the list of signers. “It is a cultural change! We are moving from a quantitative model to a more narrative model, where the researcher explains his contributions and where many aspects of the activity are taken into account”, Sherifa Boukassem confirms.

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