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10 DECEMBER 2013

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

"Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a 'tyranny' that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications.

Randy Schekman, a US biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top–tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science.

Schekman said pressure to publish in 'luxury' journals encouraged researchers to cut corners and pursue trendy fields of science instead of doing more important work. The problem was exacerbated, he said, by editors who were not active scientists but professionals who favoured studies that were likely to make a splash."

(Ian Sample, Monday 9 December 2013, The Guardian)


2013 • academic credibility • academic impactacademic journalsacademic papersacademic workassessing impactassessment of scholarshipboycott • Cell and Science (journal) • citation-based measures of impactcredible information • cut corners • eLife (online journal) • journal impactlevel playing fieldmeasurement of impactmedical researchNature (journal)Nobel Prizeperformativity • physiology or medicine • publication of academic papersquantitative study of scholarship • Randy Schekman • research impactresearch papers • science journals • science researchscientific community • scientific credibility • scientific processStockholmThe Guardian • top-tier journals • Wellcome Trust • working scientists


Simon Perkins
29 APRIL 2012

Citations and impact factors are old hat: the Web 2.0 generation needs metrics to match today's scholarship

"As a young academic, I am reliably informed that the landscape of scholarly communication is not what it was 20 years ago. But, despite all that has changed, it seems that we still largely rely upon the same tired and narrow measures of quality and academic impact – namely, citation counts and journal impact factors.

As someone who has used the internet in almost every aspect of their academic work to date, it's hard for me to ignore the fact that these mechanisms, in predating the web, largely ignore its effects.

By holding up these measures as incentives, we appear to have our eye firmly fixed on the hammer and not the nail, adjusting our research habits in order to maximise scores and ignoring issues such as why we publish in the first place."

(Matthew Gamble, 28 July 2011, Times Higher Education)



academic blogs • academic discussion • academic impactacademic papersacademic work • alt-metrics • alt-metrics community • alt-metrics movement • • assessing impactassessment of scholarshipblogCERNcitation • citation counts • citation-based measures • citation-based measures of impactdiverse metricsengaged scholars • existing measures • funding decisions • Harvard Universityimpact • impressions of impact • incentive • Internetjournal impact • journal impact factors • journal output • measurementmeasurement of impactMendeleymetricsnarrow measures • narrow measures of academic impact • narrow measures of quality • new measurement frontieronline • online reference-management service • peer review • platform for scholarly communication • practices of scholarly communication • products of scholarly communication • publication of academic papersquantitative study of scholarship • ReaderMeter • • real-time readership • reference manager • research habits • research impactresearch output • Rouse Ball • Samuel Arbesman • scholarly activity • scholarly activity on the web • scholarly communication • scientific discoveries • second scientific revolution • Tim Berners-Lee • timely indications of impact • Timothy Gowers • traces of scholarship • TwitterUniversity of CambridgeUniversity of North Carolina • utility of the web • Web 2.0 • web as a platform • young academics


Simon Perkins
20 MAY 2010

Research: a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared...

"The proposals for a new approach to the assessment and funding of research – set out last year in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultation paper on the research excellence framework – have sparked more than a few rows.

Much of the conflict has revolved around whether or not the economic and social impact of research should feature in the regime that will replace the research assessment exercise. ...

Our starting point should be to remember that the RAE was deeply flawed. It was dominated by vested interests, was embarrassingly subjective and seriously undervalued those scholars who bridge the worlds of academe and practice.

The REF is, then, a major step forward from the RAE not least because it broadens the definition of research. To suggest, as the REF does, that research is 'a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared' invites all scholars to think afresh about how they communicate their research findings and to whom. ...

Yes, there are challenges in research impact assessment. New thinking, around, say, research 'possibilities' is needed. But once academics recognise that research findings should be 'shared', we have made a significant step forward. By definition we are now discussing research impact or, at least, potential research impact.

However, the intellectual argument relating to research impact, rather like the debate about the expansion of university public engagement activities, goes much deeper than a discussion of how scholars can improve the manner in which they communicate with different audiences – important as this is.

Rather it concerns a reshaping, for some disciplines at least, of the way scholarship is conceived. It heralds a move towards the notion of 'engaged scholarship'. Many UK academics – medics are a classic example – are already actively engaged with stakeholders outside the campus in the process of defining research questions and co–producing new knowledge.

This is not to suggest that all scholars should be 'engaged scholars' – indeed, that would be a bad thing. But the research impact debate can open up the possibility of broadening the definition of scholarship."

(Robin Hambleton, 4 February 2010, Times Higher Education)


2010 • a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared • assessing impact • definition • discoveryengaged scholarsengagementenquiryfindingsHEHEFCEHigher Education Funding Council for Englandimpactmeasurement of impactmetricspublishingRAEREFresearchResearch Excellence Frameworkresearch fundingresearch outputscholarshipsharingUK


Simon Perkins
18 NOVEMBER 2009

HEFCE : Research : Research Excellence Framework (REF)

"The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). In previous years, research quality has been assessed periodically through the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

We are currently consulting on proposals for the new framework. We will issue guidance on the REF in 2010 after completing the consultation. The first REF exercise is due to be completed in 2013.

We are working in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), and with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the new framework. Representatives of the four funding councils sit on a steering group which oversees its development.

The REF will focus on three elements, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence. These are:

* Outputs: The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds. This will be assessed through a process of expert review, informed by citation information in subjects where robust data are available (for example, in medicine and science).

* Impact: Significant additional recognition will be given where researchers build on excellent research to deliver demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Impacts will be assessed through a case–study approach that will be tested in a pilot exercise.

* Environment: The REF will take account of the quality of the research environment in supporting a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application."

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)


Simon Perkins

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