The Scientometric Bubble Considered Harmful

Gonzalo Génova, Hernán Astudillo, Anabel Fraga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. This article deals with a modern disease of academic science that consists of an enormous increase in the number of scientific publications without a corresponding advance of knowledge. Findings are sliced as thin as salami and submitted to different journals to produce more papers. If we consider academic papers as a kind of scientific ‘currency’ that is backed by gold bullion in the central bank of ‘true’ science, then we are witnessing an article-inflation phenomenon, a scientometric bubble that is most harmful for science and promotes an unethical and antiscientific culture among researchers. The main problem behind the scenes is that the impact factor is used as a proxy for quality. Therefore, not only for convenience, but also based on ethical principles of scientific research, we adhere to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment when it emphasizes “the need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics in funding, appointment and promotion considerations; and the need to assess research on its own merits rather on the journal in which the research is published”. Our message is mainly addressed to the funding agencies and universities that award tenures or grants and manage research programmes, especially in developing countries. The message is also addressed to well-established scientists who have the power to change things when they participate in committees for grants and jobs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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