We need to get rid of arithmetic in science

opinion | by guest authors

July 21, 2021 | In response to the critical open letter from older scholars about new recognition and evaluation, 113 young scientists advocated for desirable changes within the academy. They state in an open letter that nowadays scientists are doing more than just research. “Therefore, in our view, scientific publishing is no longer the only unit of expression of quality, since it is not the duties of the modern world.”

Young researchers at a recent symposium on “Young Science in Transition” on New Recognition and Recognition. Photo: Photography UMC Utrecht.

On July 19, ScienceGuide published an open letter from 171 academics concerned about the new recognition and evaluation of scientists. Indeed, the signatories warn that the new “recognition and appreciation” leads to further arbitrariness and a loss of quality. The authors argue that this will jeopardize the first international center for Dutch science, which will negatively affect young academics in particular.

The Classical Academy no longer exists

It is noticeable that these young scholars, about whom the letter speaks, do not seem to be involved in the formulation of the letter. It is also remarkable that the signatories of the open letter are themselves at the top of the academic career ladder; 142 of the signatories 171 professors. As Young Science in Transition, the Netherlands Doctoral Candidate Network, PostDocNL, a large number of members of the De Jonge Akademies, and many other young researchers, we do not agree with the message they are proclaiming. In fact, we worry about these kinds of noises when it comes to our current and future jobs. Young academics are eagerly awaiting a new system of recognition and recognition.

The Classical Academy no longer exists. Scientists’ tasks are becoming more comprehensive and involve much more than just research. Therefore, in our opinion, scientific publication is no longer the only unit of expression of quality; After all, this does not represent the duties of the modern world. Scientists no longer sit in their ivory towers writing, but rather stand on a stage to share scientific findings or inform policy makers, for example, of social and medical issues. They participate, coordinate and organize interaction with the outside world. This diversity of roles and responsibilities is necessary to address current and complex scientific issues and challenges, and thus requires a broad understanding of talent and excellence.

However, ‘scoring’ with internationally recognized and measurable research achievements remains the only way to get a job in many places within the academy. This account comes at the expense of a wide range of academic activities that can be recognized and evaluated and influence the research questions posed by academics. The definition of talent used in recent decades is too narrow for the way the academy operates today.

Reassessing the role of bibliometric indicators

New recognition and evaluation means a reassessment of the role of bibliometric indicators in evaluating research. This does not mean abandoning any form of quantification, but, for example, abandoning the Journal Impact Factor as a measure of individual quality. This indicator is simply not suitable for this. In this spirit, many universities and research funders in different countries have signed the DORA . Statement. The European Research Council signed DORA last week.

Bibliometric indicators are an easy and seemingly objective measure. No one will deny that scientific publications remain important. However, the new appreciation and recognition challenges us to evaluate each other’s articles more on the quality of their content, regardless of quantity and place of publication. In addition, the new recognition and recognition does not prevent anyone from showing the significant impact of scholarly work in a narrative biography. nature From Science to be named and thus appreciated. However, a suitable bibliometric index is no longer a universal requirement for excellence because we realize that there are more indicators to rank high-quality science.

Staying with the old system is not an option

It is good to stress that we, as young scientists, do indeed agree with our older colleagues scientifically on one important point; We all want to maintain a top position in international science. Redefining talent and excellence means challenging academics to perform a more balanced set of activities. In addition to research, for example, education, public participation, and patient care also count toward the evaluation, without creating a five-legged sheep.. This requires us to look outside the box in search of a new, viable and transparent classification system. How we will put this into practice is the challenge we now face together. Funding organizations such as NWO and ZonMW also play an important role in this.

What do we need now? Courage and an open mind on all sides. The Netherlands has chosen to be the most likely candidate for new recognition and evaluation. We as young scientists are proud of that. However, this new appreciation and recognition required a culture change. We realize that such a change is not easy for the established world that arose in the old order. We will all have to get used to a new definition of talent and excellence; take time. However, in our opinion, young academics of all scientific disciplines, staying with the old system is not an option.

Can this message Here is signed

  • Annemijn Algra, Young SiT, UMC Utrecht
  • Renzi Benedict Young SiT, UMC Utrecht / CWTS
  • Hahakaya charisma, Young CT, UMC Utrecht
  • Inez Copman Young CT, UMC Utrecht
  • Dennis Dordwin Young CT, UMC Utrecht
  • Classic Segersma, Young CT, UMC Utrecht
  • Remy Steflink, Young CT, UMC Utrecht
  • Dr. Mariana Pedroso Branco, Young SiT, UMC Utrecht
  • Dr. Sander van der Laan, Young SiT, UMC Utrecht
  • Dr. Inge Stegmann, Young SiT, UMC Utrecht
  • Queen star Young CT, University of Twente
  • Dr. Esther Plumb, Young CT, Delft University
  • Dr. Sander Bosch, Young SiT, VU Amsterdam
  • Roseanne Anholt, PNN, VU Amsterdam
  • Megan Pollack, PNN, LUMC
  • Angela Tolle, PNN, UMCG
  • Marc Vervoort, PNN, Radboud UMC
  • Kechin Matura, PNN, Amsterdam UMC
  • Renee Davis, PNN, UMCG
  • Charlotte de Bellecourt, PNN, Donders Institute Nijmegen
  • Lisa Oskam, PNN, Utrecht University
  • Manon te Dorsthorst, PNN, Radboud UMC
  • Dr. Nikulin Korthagen, PostDocNL, LUMC
  • Dr. Vera Kemp, PostDocNL, LUMC
  • Dr.. Padmini Khedoe, PostDocNL, LUMC
  • Dr. Hanneke Hulst, Youth Academy, Amsterdam UMC
  • Professor Dr. Hester den Ruijter, The Young Academy, UMC Utrecht
  • Dr. Sanli Weiz, Young Academy, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Marjolin Pohl, Youth Academy, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Eric van Siebel, Youth Academy, Utrecht University
  • Professor Dr. Celia Berkers, Youth Academy, Utrecht University
  • Prof. dr.ir. Jeroen de Rieder, Youth Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Kristen Steenberg, Youth Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Saskia Bonjour, Youth Academy, University of Amsterdam
  • Dr. Eddie Brommelmann, Youth Academy, University of Amsterdam
  • Dr. Nadine Ackermann, Youth Academy, Leiden University
  • Dr. Frans Sinek, Youth Academy, Leiden University
  • Dr. Karawan Fateh Black, Youth Academy, Leiden University
  • Professor Dr. Hilda Verbeek, Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Shari Podds, Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Lotte Krabenburg, Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Shel van Heerwarden, Youth Academy, Wageningen University
  • Dr. Bettina Ritz-José, Youth Academy, University of Groningen
  • Professor Dr. Michael Volz, Youth Academy, University of Groningen
  • Dr. Marie-José van Toll, Junior Academy, UMCG
  • Dr. IR Cynthia Lim, Junior Academy, Delft University
  • Dr. Helmer Hellmers, Youth Academy, KNAW
  • Dr. Coosje Dijkstra, Amsterdam Youth Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Linda Doe, Amsterdam Youth Academy, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr.. Josine de Winter, Amsterdam Youth Academy, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr.. Silk Muellert, Amsterdam Youth Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Ivano Malavolta, Amsterdam Youth Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Elsje van Bergen, Amsterdam Young Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Jos Akkermans, Amsterdam Young Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr. Peter Koppens, Amsterdam Youth Academy, VU Amsterdam
  • Dr.. Denis Doyster, Amsterdam Youth Academy, ACTA
  • Dr. Hieke Huistra, Utrecht Youth Academy, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Christoph Devren, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Lauren Wagner, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Professor Dr. Dr. Bram Ackermanns, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Katelyn Heisbroek, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Christoph Rausch, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Professor Dr. Annick De Bruyne, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Federico de Martino, Maastricht Young Academy, Maastricht University. Federico Di Martino, Maastricht Youth Academy, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Fleur Jungeper, Radboud Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Chris Dolls, Radboud Young Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Mariska Clemens, Radboud Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Elke Spaak, Radboud Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Mark Dengemansi, Radboud Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Nils Nessen, Radboud Youth Academy, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Dr. Julia Heinrich, Young NeurolabNL, Leiden University
  • Dr. Desiderio Cano Porras, Young NeurolabNL, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Michele Morell, Young NeurolabNL, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Mariette van Buren, Young NeurolabNL, VU University Amsterdam
  • Dr. Chris Friend, Young NeurolabNL, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. Ileana Vasina, Young NeurolabNL, Radboud University
  • a. Ysbrand van der Werf, Amsterdam UMC
  • a. Blanche Schroen, Maastricht University
  • Dr. Menau Schonheim, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. Annemarie Van Damme, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. Wilma van de Berg, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. ir. Fernando Nobrega Santos, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. Geert Schenk, Amsterdam UMC
  • Professor Dr. Marek Adrianci, Leiden University
  • Dr. Jarno Hochmann, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Kim Jie, A&E Physician, Jeroen Bosch Hospital
  • Maureen Van Damme MSc, Amsterdam UMC
  • Marek van Lingen, MSc, Amsterdam UMC
  • Maren Huiskamp, ​​MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Max Lansma, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Janten Rottgering, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Tim van Balkom, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Vera Belgers, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. Saskia Haitejima, UMC Utrecht
  • Dr. Bob Sigerink, LUMC
  • Dr. Caspar van Lisa, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Karen Sanders, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Jessica van Seeten, UMC Utrecht
  • Dr. Chris Hartgrink, Director of Liberate Science GmbH
  • Dr. Eva Porte, Max Planck Institute
  • Femke Reidsma, MRA, Leiden University
  • Cory Wortell, MA, LUMC
  • Ilse Nauta, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Gary Jules, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Inga Arts, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Lucas Breidt, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Christa van der Heijden, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Tommy Broders, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Bram van der Gag, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Eduarda Centeno, MA, Amsterdam UMC
  • Maria Nordelus, BSc, Amsterdam UMC
  • Madelief Zwaan, Bachelor’s, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. Gino Camus, The Open University
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