Monday, September 24, 2012

Decline and Fall

The situation of academia in Italy (if I have understood it correctly) has reached a dramatic point.

To apply for a position in future you will first need to pass a threshhold based only on numerical indicators.

To be on a committee to decide who obtains positions you will need to first past a threshhold based solely on numerical indicators.

By this means some of the best scientists will be excluded while some of the worst will be selected.

I understand that any method of selection has imperfections, and often fails to produce excellence. However this new Italian method seems to me to be almost the worst possible.

As evidence of the imperfection of numerical indices let me quote a well-known (and possibly excellent; certainly frank) physics blogger:
"I Authored 700 Papers. Did I Read Them All ? No. ...
Did I write them ? No, I only wrote or helped writing a small fraction of that large number. Did I at least review them ? No, I only reviewed maybe two hundred of them (and believe me, that is a large fraction for the field's standards!). Hell, did I read them all at least ? No, I cannot even say I read all of them; perhaps I read a third."

And of course you know about the journal "Chaos, Solitons and Fractals".



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