Fixing the crisis state of scientific evaluation

Jonathan P Tennant, Charlotte Wien

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


Our scientific evaluation system is in a state of crisis. Every researcher has heard of the “publish and/or perish” culture: the fact that individual researchers are evaluated primarily based on the journals that we publish in, rather than any intrinsic merit or quality of our work. Countless pages in newspapers, blogs, and journals have been written criticising this evaluation system, and in particular, the pernicious use of journal brands and metrics like the Journal Impact Factor. Here, we discuss how the unholy trinity of Web of Science, New Public Management, and citation metrics combined to create this dysfunction. We propose three potential solutions to simultaneously combating its threat: policing the police; opening up peer review; and starting from scratch. We believe that through systemic evaluation reform, science can begin to break free from the 'tyranny of metrics', and begin to adopt a new functional role within society, particularly in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Agenda 2030.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocArXiv Papers
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 7. Apr 2020

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