In my opinion some of the excesses of the neo-liberal economy influence science and lead to some of these changes and reflect a change in society and its economy.
Yes, I also think it is the reason.
But what is, then, the role of scientists, thinkers and deciders if they don't try to knock the alarm and avoid deviations?
In earlier times these where also professors and PIs (with permanent and tenure) who rarely or never published at all, but why did they do science then?
Why should we think that science is, and must be only, to write and publish?
When you teach, you do science too! When you teach you do better science than you write it! Because science is made to be conveyed not to sleep in books and journals. Otherwise, it doesn't serve.
Teaching is the true science which leads to do things, then to publish results, then to teach again and so on.
Teaching could be much more effective and influential than writing and publishing.
Science as you describe it is very idealistic,
By definition and goals, science is idealistic and it should be so and stay it.
If science is not idealistic which other method or thing should be idealistic?
but it was never like that...most scientific records, inventions and discoveries were made for warfare purposes (and many of the brilliant scientists worked for such aims, also Galilei and Einstein...) . Compared to that working for materialistic aims is quite harmless....
Yes, but this is not incompatible with the points raised above.
Anyway you have some good points that are undesirable developments and need reformations.
And: Do you have any ideas how to improve the system? (in order to not only complaining but give some productive feedback?)
Yes, I do:
Simply we should stop to rate things subjectively, at least in science. Stop to rate everything surrounding us.
Stop to give virtual and useless impact factor to journals. Let people judge by themselves.
We have to have journals but why we have to rate them? Particularly if they all use the same scientific method to judge and review articles?
Why not let people judge what inside by themselves? Like for books, there are no IF but people evaluate the books they read.
The same should be for articles and journals.
Just leave people free without influencing them or misleading them by untrue, business-biased rating.
Do you really think that rating universities or journals is a good thing or good approach?
As biologists how do we do our experiments to be valid and reliable?
If we carry out an experiment to compare two populations (humans, animals, plants, animals or insects ..etc), shouldn't we use exactly the same setting for all groups except for one or more variables being investigated?
For example, when we compare two groups of humans, we should pay attention that the two groups are comparable in everything: sex, age,...habits, etc.
Then, making observation, collecting data... and write down results and making analysis.
So, if we have to study a phenomenon in 1000 human subjects and see how it is distributed between men and women, our sample should be composed of equal number: 500 men, 500 women (plus, minus one or two is ok, but not more!)
all subject should have comparable ages in both groups (say: 30-35 years old);
all should eat the same or different meal, habits, origin, smoking...(one or more variable at a time).
the experiment should be carried out for all subjects for the same time.
In such a way, we do a scientific comparison, but if we compare 990 women to 10 men, aged 70-80 against 20-30 years old, we do false science.
And, this is exactly what rating COMPANIES do to rate universities and journals; they compare and rate heterogeneous structures, different in almost everything even in languages and workday lengths!
Do you think, so, that is reasonable to compare a university with 50,000 students, 2000 researchers, a budget of billions of dollars with another university with only 5,000 student, 5 researchers with only 100 thousands of dollars?
Is this a scientific approach?
If we want to rate universities fairly
, then we should compare institutions with exactly the same or comparable number of students and teachers
, same or comparable lab settings and facilities
, same or comparable number of researchers and technicians
.... and give them the same amount of money and equipment
, under same or comparable work conditions...
In this case, yes we can effectively compare and rate universities in a scientific valid method and the result will be trustable.
Otherwise, rating universities is just a big lie,
established just for business and money.
The same goes for journal rating and impact factor (IF).
Those who make rating have to have shame when they think or speak about university rating and journal IF.
The big contradiction in rating scientific staffs and stuffs
is that they are rated
by using non-scientific methods!
Amazing, isn't it ?
Edited by Biog, 30 October 2012 - 08:39 AM.