Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Data and rankings must inform strategic decision making, not drive them

I recently met Dr Cameron Neylon at the Berlin Open Access Conference in Stellenbosch, and was impressed by his ideas regarding open access to research and the measurement of impact in terms of the value of research - Eileen Shepherd
At December's Future of Impact conference, Cameron Neylon argued that universities must ask how their research is being re-used, and choose to become the most skilled in using available data to inform strategic decision making. It’s time to put down the Impact voodoo doll and stop using rankings blindly.

Leading or following: Data and rankings must inform strategic decision making, not drive them

"...The acceptance of the idea that there is some sort of scala naturae with Harvard at the top and someone else at the bottom means outsourcing our values and our mission. What is more these measures can only ever be based on data, and are weighted according to views of what is important that look backwards, not forwards. But more than just outsourcing our responsibilities acceptance of this idea means inevitable decline. UK institutions will never have the resources of a Harvard or and MIT (or a Stanford, Princeton, Virginia Tech) but also we will soon be unable to compete with the resourcing of institutions in a whole new range of countries. If we accept a single numeric ranking, defined by outsiders, we are choosing to lose the game...."

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