Putting data before the carrot

Justin Wayne Flatt, Alessandro Blasimme, Effy Vayena

Research output: Contribution to journalOther articlesScientific


Scientists must compete for limited funding as well as for academic positions and recognition. Many factors contribute to success, but Hirsch’s h-index puts the emphasis squarely on citations (Hirsch, 2005). In such a system, it is perceived that more citations should lead to more funds, promotions, job security, et cetera. Hirsch’s formula rapidly became the dominant parameter informing academic ranking and resource allocation decisions, but it comes with limitations and it’s easy to manipulate. Yet most scholars and evaluation committees continue to embrace the h-index as the major way to keep score. This shows the metric has value – especially because it aims to make scientific assessment a level playing field – but we shouldn’t get carried away with how we use it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalElephant in the Lab blog
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2017

Fields of Science

  • 113 Computer and information sciences

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