Publication rates

Kate Jeffery k.jeffery at ucl.ac.uk
Thu Nov 16 15:56:51 EST 2000


Susan wrote (among other v. interesting things):

>Quality, not quantity. 

The problem is that over here, and I think it is true in the US too,
productivity is measured in quantity not quality. Here they have a horrible
thing called the Research Assessment Exercise, which grades universities
(and their funding) according to how much their research staff publish.
They look at number of publications and impact factors, among other things
(like number and size of grants). It doesn't matter if you are publishing
terrific complete studies that never have to be retracted and are quoted
many times more often than most. If you aren't publishing as *many* things,
or as many high-profile things in Science and Nature, you don't get hired. 

I think this is a real problem and one of the big reasons women aren't
getting through to the top. I have watched a few of my male colleagues in
action and they bully and bluster and argue their papers into Nature and
Science when they really don't deserve to be there. And the women rarely
submit to those journals in the first place, reasoning that their studies
aren't quite as watertight or as complete or as novel or whatever as they
could be. The 72% vs 30% assessment of male and female self-worth probably
translates pretty accurately into Nature and Science submission rates, I
would bet. 

So what do we do? Teach women to bully and argue and raise their
self-esteem, or teach the system to recognise quality not quantity? (Or both?)

Kate


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