[ASC-list] 'Publish or perish'

Toss Gascoigne director at tossgascoigne.com.au
Thu Jun 27 00:18:29 UTC 2013


The problem is the Australian system (and in many other countries) measures performance by counting the number of papers a scientist publishes and the citations they gain.  So researchers, being rational and smart, do just that.

It's all about metrics - what can be counted easily counts in promotion and appointment cases in research.  Media interaction unfortunately doesn't fall into this category.

As one scientist said in a 1997 study:

"If you were given the opportunity to spend a week doing media interviews ... or getting a paper published, you'd do a hell of a lot more for your promotion out of writing the paper than out of the media interviews."

But the problem extends way beyond media and public interaction, into areas such as researchers wanting to work with industry ("what? no papers? not much value, then"); or writing commentaries on public policy which might lead for example to a better tax system.  All to the detriment of progress in Australia....

Toss 

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On 26/06/2013, at 1:57 PM, Will Grant wrote:

> Hi all, 
> 
> Along the lines of this discussion, you might all be interested in the moves afoot in the Department of … to change the ways research is assessed - slightly away from internal metrics (citations etc) to wider impact. 
> 
> This is of big importance to science communicators, and we have the opportunity to influence how this discussion goes.
> 
> See their email below:
> 
>> Good afternoon,
>>  
>> As you may be aware, in November 2012, the Government announced its intention to assess the broader economic, social and environmental benefits arising from all elements of government research investment, including those benefits arising from university-based research.
>>  
>> In support of this work, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, in consultation with the Australian Research Council, has prepared a discussion paper on Assessing the wider benefits arising from university-based research.
>>  
>> The discussion paper is now available at www.innovation.gov.au/impact. The department would appreciate hearing your views and/or yourorganisation’s views in response to the issues raised in the paper. Also, please feel free to forward this advice to any other parties that you think might be interested in making a submission.
>>  
>> A preferred template for responses is available online at www.innovation.gov.au/impact.
>>  
>> Submissions are due by 16 August 2013 via impact at innovation.gov.au. 
>>  
>> Enquiries about the paper and any further consultation may also be sent to this address.
>>  
> 
> Dr Will J Grant
> Graduate Studies Convener | Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
> The Australian National University | Physics Link Building, Building 38A | Canberra ACT 0200 Australia
> e: will.grant at anu.edu.au | p: +61 2 6125 0241 | f: +61 2 6125 8991
> calendar | twitter | skype: WillJ99 | web
> Cricos Provider# 00120C
> 
> On 25/06/2013, at 2:02 PM, George Aranda <george.aranda at deakin.edu.au> wrote:
> 
>> Hi Brendon,
>>  
>> I agree with Nancy in the difficulty of getting scientists to communicate – it’s not their fault J. At the recent ScienceRewired conference there was some discussion about scientists who use twitter and observe an increase in citations. One way you can approach scientists would be to advocate social media like twitter, which has been demonstrated to increase citations and then would provide those interested with a justification to use twitter in their own time.
>>  
>> Here is a quick lit search:
>> http://www.sagepub.com/authors/journal/10ways.sp
>> http://www.jmir.org/2011/4/e123/
>> http://blog.ketyov.com/2011/07/role-of-facebook-and-twitter-in.html
>>  
>> I plan to approach the Deakin Faculty of Science about similar things.
>>  
>> Cheers,
>>  
>> George
>>  
>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Brendon Cant
>> Sent: Tuesday, 25 June 2013 12:54 PM
>> To: ASC Lists
>> Subject: [ASC-list] 'Publish or perish'
>>  
>> I’m interested to learn if anyone can point me to some ‘pointers’ for ‘educating’ scientists and researchers on why publishing in peer reviewed international journals is not the be all and end all of communicating their research. Encouraging scientists to be comfortable with providing details to non-indexed publications, in other words working with media and communicating research, including purpose, methodology and findings, preliminary or otherwise, is the core of communication for science communicators, but sometimes it can be a battle, as we all know. Researchers, especially those in universities, have a publish or perish mentality and the scientific publishing numbers game they frequently insist on playing is to the detriment of the very people who fund them, often the taxpayer and, increasingly, private, corporate funders. If there’s public money involved, surely scientists have an obligation to let the wider community, not just their scientific peers, know what they’re up to, especially if there’s public good in the equation.
>>  
>>  
>> Brendon Cant
>> BCA PR Pty Ltd
>> PO Box 4444
>> Mosman Park
>> Western Australia 6012
>> Mob 0417 930 536
>>  
>> 
>> Important Notice: The contents of this email are intended solely for the named addressee and are confidential; any unauthorised use, reproduction or storage of the contents is expressly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please delete it and any attachments immediately and advise the sender by return email or telephone.
>> 
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