Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Assessing Academic Researchers

...the Stanford Chemistry department way.

From the Angewandte Chemie April 2012 editorial by Prof. Richard N. Zare:
How do we judge someone’s worth as a researcher?
We do not look into how much funding the candidate has brought to the university in the form of grants. We do not count the number of published papers; we also do not rank publications according to authorship order. We do not use some elaborate algorithm that weighs publications in journals according to the impact factor of the journal. We seldom discuss h-index metrics, which aim to measure the impact of a researcher’s publications. We simply ask outside experts, as well as our tenured faculty members, whether a candidate has significantly changed how we understand chemistry.
That is, 'outside expert opinion' through 10 to 15 letters of recommendation from international experts. Perhaps more RTI compliant than the MIT way of assessing tenure-worthiness?

These views are presented by Prof. Zare, while discussing the tenure system followed by Stanford CY dept., as a contrast to the evaluation based largely on "scientometric" data being followed by some of the universities in China and India that he learnt during his recent trip.

He goes on to discuss the inadequacy of h-index and citations to judge the early career of a researcher.

More... [DOI 10.1002/anie.201201011]

(Thanks to an email share by Prof. Krishnaiah)