The intense focus on publications as a way to measure scientific output has led to three suboptimal outcomes. First, researchers hoard knowledge in order to be the first to publish new findings. Second, institutional structures incentivize lower-risk incremental research. And third, the increased production of graduate students who are then put into the academic holding tank of postdoctoral fellowships.

September Nature article “Fix the incentives”

In an upcoming Nature article, IRIS PI Julia Lane, professor in the Wagner School of Public Policy at New York University, presents her perspective on the need to fix the incentives in research which currently focus on the publication of positive results.  She says, “Science would move forward more effectively by investing in people rather than projects, particularly if the focus is on regional economic development. Furthermore, “better incentives, and science, can be established through thoughtful measurement.”  Lane describes systems which provide the much needed measurement, including the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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