Advancing science or advancing careers? Researchers’ opinions on success indicators

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 pressures on scientists. Yet, the precise ways in which assessments should change is still open for debate. In this article, the authors designed a survey to capture the perspectives of different interest groups like research institutions, funders, publishers, researchers and students.
When looking at success indicators, the authors found that 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 that, before we change the way in which researchers are being assessed, 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.

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