Czech bibliometric system fosters mediocre research

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Sir

Following your News story 'Czech researchers angry over government changes' (Nature 460, 157; 2009), we would like to point out that ill-conceived bibliometrics can be used as an excuse for deep cuts in basic research funding and the diversion of funds to 'applied' research.

The innovative evaluation system endorsed by the Czech government's research and development council ascribes a certain number of points to every paper, patent, technology and piece of software. However, it does not properly take into account the originality of the result or the publication medium, nor does it consider the different financial requirements of different branches of science.

This system effectively penalizes inter-institutional cooperation and promotes inflation of mediocre science. It discredits the whole concept of evaluation of science based on scientiometrics.

It does not soothe our pain that publication of this letter will confer as many points on our institutions as a paper in Progress in Polymer Science or three in The American Bankruptcy Law Journal.

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Konvalinka, J., Illnerová, H., Hobza, P. et al. Czech bibliometric system fosters mediocre research. Nature 460, 1079 (2009) doi:10.1038/4601079c

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