Science Metrics

Nature has a very interesting News Feature on metrics for scientific achievement, titled Metrics: Do metrics matter? The use of scientific metrics is a recurring theme on this blog. I wrote about it most recently in my post Against Measure.The main point of my criticism on science metrics is that they deviate researchers' interests. It is what I refer to as a deviation from primary goals to secondary criteria. Here, the primary goal is good research. The secondary criteria are some measures that for whatever reason are thought to be relevant quantifiers for the primary goal. The problem is that, even if the secondary criteria have initially had some relevance, their implementation inevitably affects researcher's own assessment of what success means and leads them to strive for the secondary criteria rather than the primary goal. With that, the secondary criteria become less and less useful since they are being pursued as an end in itself. Typical example: number of publications. In principle not a completely useless criterion to assess a researcher's productivity. But it becomes increasingly less useful the more tricks scientists pull to increase the number of publications instead of focusing on the quality of their research.Note that for a deviation of interests to happen it is not ...

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