Sunday, July 24, 2011

ACS Nano Editorial: "Fraud, the h-index and Pasternak"

The editorial (pdf) by Nicholas Kotov, an associate editor at the journal, appeared in 2010. A quick excerpt:

... if we look deeper, we can also see that this evaluation system established by officials of science and education ministries (China is only one of them) has simply formalized many aspects of the evaluation process of academic researchers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Indeed, the primary component of the degree, tenure, and promotion processes of scientists and engineers at research universities in the U.S. are the number of published articles and the ranking of the journals in which they were published. Now the question becomes, who is promoting evaluation based on simple numbers?

In this respect, as scientists, we ought to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what we have done. It is not any academic bureaucracy that forced us to evaluate our peers based on specific numerical metrics of ranking creativity and intellect, but rather the scientific community itself that generated and is perpetrating the “simple number approach”. [...]