sexta-feira, 2 de julho de 2010

Investigação em quantidade

Mais que qualidade, hoje em dia o que está a dar é investigação em quantidade. O sistema está feito para privilegiar aqueles que mais produzem, e os esquemas utilizados para conseguir publicar no sistema de peer-review são bastante bem conhecidos no meio científico... Já aqui referimos vários aspectos que corrompem a ciência; agora saiu uma análise de cinco reputadas personalidades, de áreas distintas, a chamar a atenção para a avalanche de investigação de má qualidade. Anotes-se apenas alguns extractos do artigo, com destaques da minha responsabilidade:

While brilliant and progressive research continues apace here and there, the amount of redundant, inconsequential, and outright poor research has swelled in recent decades, filling countless pages in journals and monographs. Consider this tally from Science two decades ago: Only 45 percent of the articles published in the 4,500 top scientific journals were cited within the first five years after publication. In recent years, the figure seems to have dropped further. In a 2009 article in Online Information Review, Péter Jacsó found that 40.6 percent of the articles published in the top science and social-science journals (the figures do not include the humanities) were cited in the period 2002 to 2006.

Experts asked to evaluate manuscripts, results, and promotion files give them less-careful scrutiny or pass the burden along to other, less-competent peers. We all know busy professors who ask Ph.D. students to do their reviewing for them.

We need to get rid of administrators who reward faculty members on printed pages and downloads alone, deans and provosts "who can't read but can count," as the saying goes. Most of all, we need to understand that there is such a thing as overpublication, and that pushing thousands of researchers to issue mediocre, forgettable arguments and findings is a terrible misuse of human, as well as fiscal, capital.