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 Assunto da Mensagem: A lottery for research grants and professor positions
 Mensagem Enviado: Domingo Mar 04, 2018 7:16 am 
cientista regular
cientista regular

Registado: Quarta Dez 09, 2015 8:17 am
Mensagens: 135
Universidade/ Instituto: Minho

In the link above Stephen Hawking discusses the random/deterministic way in which the universe evolves. Wether or not God plays dices and wether or not he picks the lucky results the fact is that randomness plays an important role in our lives starting with the ovarian lottery in the first place
and taking also into account for instance the "bad luck" mutations cancer
meaning that is important we realize our successes and failures aren´t 100% determined by our actions and So maybe the lottery mentioned in the email below is not such a stupid suggestion after all also because it would help to reduce not only the frustrations of the many left out but also the inflated egos of the few selected.

De: F. Pacheco Torgal
Enviado: 2 de Março de 2018 8:11
Assunto: New head of Science Europe hopes for grant lottery system

It seems that someone in Europe is giving serious thought on the proposal by F. Fang (Editor in Chief of Infection and Immunity) & A.Casadevall (Founding Editor in Chief of mBio) available at under the title "Research Funding: The case for a modified lottery" also on this issue some phrases below taken from an article published on Nature last year.

What about a lottery to hire Faculty. External experts select 4-5 candidates of the initial pool, the internal committee rejects 2-3 and then the lottery decides the winner between the remaining two candidates !

De: F. Pacheco Torgal
Enviado: 10 de Julho de 2017 21:21
Assunto: Nature___"Obsession with eminence warps research"

We can quantify exactly how much faster Usain Bolt is than the next-fastest sprinter. It's much harder to say who is the best scientist, let alone how much better they are than the next-best scientist. Deciding who deserves recognition is, at least in part, a judgement call.

On my optimistic days, I can believe that, despite all the noise, there's still a reliable signal: that we mostly manage to publish, fund and hire people who do the better research. As an editor, peer reviewer and grant reviewer, I have spent hours making consequential choices about others' work. It would be demoralizing to believe that I might as well have flipped a coin.

On my more cynical days, I worry that we scientists have far too much faith in our abilities to distinguish the truly excellent. Too often we assume that researchers with more grant money, awards, publications and citations must be better than the rest. Eminence, by which I mean prestige for a specific accomplishment, position or award, is given much more weight than it should be.

Science is difficult and important, and we should recognize the people who do it well. But concentrating recognition among a select few might not be justified, and it could damage science.

The fact is that separating shoddy work from solid work is much more straightforward than distinguishing the top 5% of solid work from the next 5%, which often makes the difference between favourable and unfavourable decisions. Given these difficulties, decisions about who gets rewarded cannot come down to quality alone. So, what else drives them?

Scientists are human, and thus susceptible to biases. One of the most powerful is status bias. Here, recognition is awarded partly on the basis of past recognition (so a scientist is more likely to get a publication accepted if he or she has a track record of good publications). This is essentially the 'rich get richer' phenomenon, or 'Matthew effect', described nearly half a century ago by the sociologist of science Robert Merton (R. Merton Science 159, 56–63; 1968).

Favouring elite scientists when evaluating papers and proposals is like giving Usain Bolt a 10-metre head start in his next race because he won his last five. It incentivizes scientists to present themselves and their results in the best light possible, to shun transparency and to deflect criticism. Those tendencies contribute to reproducibility problems.

What's the solution? We cannot eliminate prestige. One partial cure is to admit up front that judgements of eminence are often subjective. From there, we can move on to a harder task: rather than relying on heuristics such as the prestige of their university, or previous recognition, let's read people's work and evaluate each study or proposal on its merits.

Whenever possible, the scientific community should look for ways to reward work by making solid, broad distinctions and avoiding fine conjectures about who is the best of the best. In fact, a couple of biomedical researchers have proposed that grant reviewers should strive to identify only the top fifth of grant proposals, with the final awards decided by lottery (F. C. Fang and A. CasadevallScience 352, 158; 2016).

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