Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dysfunctional Academia: A Resignation Letter

In a a resignation letter, an (ex)-EPFL student (revealed to be one FeuDRenais, who shows up in the comments section) takes a cold, hard look at all the dysfunctional aspects of academic life (probably, the STEM side of it). An excerpt:

(6) Academia: Statistics Galore!

“Professors with papers are like children,” a professor once told me. And, indeed, there seems to exist an unhealthy obsession among academics regarding their numbers of citations, impact factors, and numbers of publications. This leads to all sorts of nonsense, such as academics making “strategic citations”, writing “anonymous” peer reviews where they encourage the authors of the reviewed paper to cite their work, and gently trying to tell their colleagues about their recent work at conferences or other networking events or sometimes even trying to slip each other their papers with a “I’ll-read-yours-if-you-read-mine” wink and nod. No one, when asked if they care about their citations, will ever admit to it, and yet these same people will still know the numbers by heart. I admit that I’ve been there before, and hate myself for it.

Thanks for the e-mail pointer go to Pradeepkumar.