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Data from: Games academics play and their consequences: how authorship, h-index, and journal impact factors are shaping the future of academia

Citation

Gogarten, Jan et al. (2019), Data from: Games academics play and their consequences: how authorship, h-index, and journal impact factors are shaping the future of academia, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fn2z34tpx

Abstract

Research is a highly competitive profession where evaluation plays a central role; journals are ranked and individuals are evaluated based on their publication number, the number of times they are cited, and their h-index. Yet, such evaluations are often done in inappropriate ways that are damaging to individual careers, particularly for young scholars, and to the profession. Furthermore, as with all indices, people can play games to better their scores. This has resulted in the incentive structure of science increasingly mimicking economic principles, but rather than a monetary gain, the incentive is a higher score. To ensure a diversity of cultural perspectives and individual experiences, we gathered a team of academics in the fields of ecology and evolution from around the world and at different career stages. We first examine how authorship, h-index of individuals, and journal impact factors are being used and abused. Second, we speculate on the consequences of the continued use of these metrics with the hope of sparking discussions that will help our fields move in a positive direction. We would like to see changes in the incentive systems rewarding quality research and guaranteeing transparency. Senior faculty should establish the ethical standards, mentoring practices, and institutional evaluation criteria to create the needed changes.

Methods

The number of authors on research articles in six journals through time. The area of each circle corresponds to the number of publications with that publication number for that year. To aid in visual interpretation of the data, a generalized additive model was fitted to the data. For ease of interpretation, the number of authors is truncated at 100, meaning that publications with >100 coauthors are plotted here as just including 101 coauthors.

Funding

Humboldt Foundation

NSERC

IDRC