[Taxacom] San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

Dan Lahr dlahr at ib.usp.br
Wed Jun 12 08:13:56 CDT 2013


I do agree with Rod, people will use some sort of objective measure of
science, this is inevitable. On the other hand, it is our job to make it
clear just how much the "metric" can actually say, as has been done with
the DORA, so it is in my view a very positive initiative that swept through
all kinds of science forums.

But, of all the "metrics", I have the impression that "altmetrics" has the
potential to cause the most negative impact on science, even worst than
what the "impact factors" and their kin have.

Think about it, since when does "popularity" equals "good science"?  People
will read and blog and tweet about what peeks their interest, not about
what is intrinsically good. A rough analogy can be made about television,
there is so much good cinema that is now basically royalty free and could
be on 24/7, but the shows that put millions, if not billions, in front of
their tubes every night are mindless "reality shows" and sports that have
been the same for at least 50 years.  This may seem like a far-fetched
analogy, but the mindset of people is actually the same: my point is that
the internets, for some of us, is a tool to do science. But, we are
outweighed by far by those who use it for entertainment.  I do not need
altmetrics to now which will be more blogged about, a review on human
origins or a monograph on spiders.

I can see that the intent is purportedly "good", they seek according to the
website (altmetrics.org), to value to the "dog-eared (but uncited) article
that used to live on a shelf" and now lives online.  Well, these are really
just a far end of a distribution that contains very useful and deep
articles, most of which are properly cited but some are cited only a
little. In order to value the exception, altmetrics will be prioritizing
"pop-science".  Doesn't seem like a good trade-off to me.

I have nothing against "pop-science", but my fear is that funding agencies
and institutions will move more and more to this kind of science than the
move that "impact factors" have already caused them to.  It is my view,
that "altmetrics" are in fact a more direct way to do this.

Dan





On Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 7:07 AM, Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk> wrote:

> This, by itself, doesn't change much. Metrics will still be used
> (citations of individual publications, altmetrics such as references in
> blog posts and tweets, bookmarking, data reuse, etc.). The trick will be
> seeing what measures fall out as being seen as the "best" or most
> "relevant" when evaluating the value of a researcher's work, then seeing
> how well taxonomic work will perform against those metrics.
>
> Regards
>
> Rod
>
> On 12 Jun 2013, at 10:31, Raab-Straube von , Eckhard wrote:
>
> > Dear Taxacomers,
> >
> > the American Society for Cell Biology has initiated a declaration on
> research assessment (DORA), which opposes the use of the Journal Impact
> Factor as a measure for research quality of individuals and institutions.
> This message seems not to be very widespread among taxonomists so far, so I
> think it is worth reading the declaration at  http://am.ascb.org/dora/.
> Interestingly, the present Editor-in-Chief of Science, Bruce Alberts, is
> among the first signees of that declaration.
> >
> > Best wishes,
> >
> > Eckhard von Raab-Straube (Berlin)
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
> >
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
> College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
>
> Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
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> Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
> Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roderic_D._M._Page
> Citations: http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=4Z5WABAAAAAJ
> ORCID id: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7101-9767
>
> _______________________________________________
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> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
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>
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
>
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
>



-- 
___________________
Daniel J. G. Lahr, PhD
Assist. Prof., Dept of Zoology,
Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil
+ 55 (11) 3091 0948



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