The way in which we assess researchers has been under the radar in the past few years. Critics argue that current research assessments focus on productivity and that they increase unhealthy pressure on scientists. Yet, the precise ways in which assessments should change is still open for debate. In this article, the authors conducted a survey amongst Flemish researchers to understand how they work, and how they would rate the relevance of specific indicators used in research assessments.
The authors found that most researchers worked far beyond their expected working schedule. Although they spent most of their time doing research, respondents wished that they could dedicate more time to it and spend less time writing grants and performing other activities such as administrative duties and meetings.
When looking at success indicators, indicators related to openness, transparency, quality, and innovation were perceived as highly important in advancing science, but as relatively overlooked in career advancement. Conversely, indicators which denoted of prestige and competition were generally rated as important to career advancement, but irrelevant or even detrimental in advancing science.
The authors concluded from this survey that current research assessments are inadequate and ignore practices which are essential in contributing to the advancement of science. Yet, before the way in which researchers are being assessed can be changed, supporting infrastructures must be put in place to ensure that researchers are able to commit to the activities that may benefit the advancement of science.