The focus on a narrow set of metrics leads to a lack of diversity in the types of leader and institution that win funding.
(11 Jan 2022) Many researchers who are funded from public sources are required to participate in national evaluations of their work. Such assessments are popular with governments because they help to ensure a degree of accountability for taxpayer cash. Funders like them, too, because they provide a useful benchmark for the standard of research being done. Universities also benefit financially when they write their research strategies around the requirements of assessments. By contrast, researchers generally see assessments as unhelpful to their work. Evaluations can also be stressful and burdensome, and in some cases create tensions between colleagues in academic and administrative roles.
With a few exceptions, the principal components of assessment systems have stayed largely the same since the exercises began, in the 1980s. But some countries are contemplating reworking these systems to reflect how science is done today. Change has been a long time coming, precipitated by initiatives such as the 2013 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, the 2015 Leiden Manifesto for research metrics and the 2020 Hong Kong Principles for assessing researchers. Official research assessments are clearly behind the times and need to catch up.
Last November, the European Commission announced plans to put together a European Union-wide agreement on research assessment. It is proposing that assessment criteria reward ethics and integrity, teamwork and a diversity of outputs in addition to research quality and impact. The UK Future Research Assessment Programme, due to report by the end of this year, has also been tasked with proposing ways to ensure that assessments become more inclusive. These changes cannot come soon enough.
Read more from the original article from Nature here.