A Kinder Research Culture Is Possible. Nature 574:5–6.
A Kinder Research Culture Is Possible [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Wellcome is right to call out hyper-competitiveness in research and question the focus on excellence. But other funders must follow its move. [Excerpt] Wellcome’s director Jeremy Farrar didn’t hold back. “The emphasis on excellence in the research system is stifling diverse thinking and positive behaviours,” he wrote in a blog post last month. “The relentless drive for research excellence has created a culture in modern science that cares exclusively about what is achieved and not about how it is achieved.” [\n] [...] [\n] The first question to tackle is what funders mean when they say ‘excellence’. Many have backed excellence partly to ensure that funding is awarded to the best research, and partly because such a focus tells governments and taxpayers that their hard-earned money is being spent responsibly. [...] An equally important question is to explore the relationship between excellence and inclusion. The funder focus on excellence presupposes that research of the highest quality benefits from competitiveness. The extent to which this is true needs further examination. [\n] Second, our 2018 survey revealed that senior staff have a more positive view of their lab environments than do less-senior colleagues. There is evidently a mismatch of views, which further exploration — both qualitative and quantitative — could help to dissect. [\n] Third is the question of performance metrics and research-evaluation systems. Scientists observe that performance metrics contribute to work environments that are more competitive. [...] [\n] Fourth, there are questions to be asked about how university rankings affect research culture. The task of improving a university’s position in the rankings is sometimes given to performance-management units that are attached to an institution’s senior leadership. Instructions are cascaded downwards. Heads of faculty, for example, need to meet targets for research income and for research outputs. This creates pressure on individuals and on teams to report new findings, and it is this pressure that, in some cases, can lead to negative results going unreported. [...]
@article{natureKinderResearchCulture2019,
  title = {A Kinder Research Culture Is Possible},
  author = {{Nature}},
  date = {2019-10-01},
  journaltitle = {Nature},
  volume = {574},
  pages = {5--6},
  doi = {10.1038/d41586-019-02951-4},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02951-4},
  urldate = {2019-10-03},
  abstract = {Wellcome is right to call out hyper-competitiveness in research and question the focus on excellence. But other funders must follow its move.

[Excerpt] 
Wellcome’s director Jeremy Farrar didn’t hold back. “The emphasis on excellence in the research system is stifling diverse thinking and positive behaviours,” he wrote in a blog post last month. “The relentless drive for research excellence has created a culture in modern science that cares exclusively about what is achieved and not about how it is achieved.” 

[\textbackslash n] [...]

[\textbackslash n] The first question to tackle is what funders mean when they say ‘excellence’. Many have backed excellence partly to ensure that funding is awarded to the best research, and partly because such a focus tells governments and taxpayers that their hard-earned money is being spent responsibly. [...] An equally important question is to explore the relationship between excellence and inclusion. The funder focus on excellence presupposes that research of the highest quality benefits from competitiveness. The extent to which this is true needs further examination.

[\textbackslash n] Second, our 2018 survey revealed that senior staff have a more positive view of their lab environments than do less-senior colleagues. There is evidently a mismatch of views, which further exploration — both qualitative and quantitative — could help to dissect.

[\textbackslash n] Third is the question of performance metrics and research-evaluation systems. Scientists observe that performance metrics contribute to work environments that are more competitive.  [...]

[\textbackslash n] Fourth, there are questions to be asked about how university rankings affect research culture. The task of improving a university’s position in the rankings is sometimes given to performance-management units that are attached to an institution’s senior leadership. Instructions are cascaded downwards. Heads of faculty, for example, need to meet targets for research income and for research outputs. This creates pressure on individuals and on teams to report new findings, and it is this pressure that, in some cases, can lead to negative results going unreported. [...]},
  keywords = {~INRMM-MiD:z-2N62A9SJ,excellence-vs-soundness,funding,pressures,publish-or-perish,research-bullying,research-management,research-metrics,science-ethics,scientific-misconduct,sustainability},
  langid = {english}
}
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