Category Archives: in the news

Judging science without looking at productivity?

The Netherlands has had its fair (or more than fair) share of scientific fraud. In an attempt to reduce this, the Dutch scientific organizations have decided to evaluate the quality of science using three instead of four criteria. This means they leave out “productivity” as a means to assess quality of the Dutch universities and institutions. The three remaining measures are “scientific quality”, “societal relevance” and whether the science is “future-proof”. The scientific organizations remark that this is a way to say that “more isn’t always better”. However, if you read further it says that scientific quality will be assessed by looking at output in the form of papers and books.

I’m a bit puzzled: productivity isn’t a measure for quality but quality is assessed by looking at papers? I don’t even want to get started about this focus on societal relevance. What will happen to all sorts of science that don’t¬†immediately lead to curing cancer? And even worse: what does it mean that science has to be future-proof?

I think it’s important to make an effort to reduce scientific fraud but I’m unsure whether this is the way to do this. I think papers will remain the currency of science, and it seems impossible to assess scientific quality without looking at papers. Or am I wrong here?

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Filed under absurd, academia, authorship, cultural differences, ethics, in the news, review, science

Things that make me sad and angry

In my homecountry, the country that was the first to allow same-sex marriage, obviously same-sex parents also care for foster children. These children either don’t have parents that can take care of them, or the authorities have decided that their parents cannot take care of them for whatever reason. It’s great that there are people that step in and lovingly care for these children. However, sometimes these foster children are Muslims, and their biological parents don’t agree with the fact that same-sex parents take care of their children. And now it has gotten even worse, and an entire country (Turkey) has become involved (Here is an English article about it). It basically comes down to the fact that prime minister Erdogan from Turkey has promised to visit 2 lesbian moms that have a Turkish boy as their foster child to pressure them into giving up the care of this 9 year old boy. The parents and the boy are currently hiding. Sigh.

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