We all know — don’t we? — that our H-index can only grow with the passage of time. But Geoffrey Alderman has a plan, an impact plan, to ensure that our impact keeps growing in other ways, as well.
This is funny, and I’m sure Professor Alderman is poking fun at the very idea of impact. Nevertheless, there’s a serious angle to this. Many of us, whether we want to admit it or not, are involved in academia in an effort to change the world. And many of us are well aware that we may have to wait to be born posthumously, as Nietzsche said.
In any case, while we play the long game, it’s nice to have diversions such as this, occasionally:
Impact from beyond the grave: how to ensure impact grows greater with the demise of the author | Impact of Social Sciences.
It’s interesting to read Representative Lamar Smith’s statement on his circulating a draft bill to “improve accountability” at NSF.
Smith sees himself as ensuring accountability by “adding a layer” to NSF’s Merit Review Process, while also preserving that process (the direct quote of his characterization is that the bill “maintains the current peer review process and improves on it by adding a layer of accountability.”)
Others, however, see him as impinging on the integrity of the Merit Review Process — or even starting down the road to dismantling it.
I partially agree with one point that Smith makes in his statement about the matter. It will be a shame if this turns into a politicized debate, with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other. This issue is too important to devolve into such petty politics.
I also agree that those of us who receive NSF funding should be accountable to Congress and the taxpayers who fund our research. But I think NSF’s recently revised Merit Review Process should be given a real chance to work before Congress intervenes in the way Smith is proposing.
There could be a conflict between a requirement to publish in open access journals and academic freedom.
4 ways open access enhances academic freedom | Impact of Social Sciences.
What sense of freedom — or autonomy — is operative here?
Obama calls for peer-review autonomy : Nature News Blog.
Here’s Obama’s take on autonomy, accountability, and peer review.
U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants
via U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants – ScienceInsider.
This is just the latest in a long saga. Most of the articles on NSF’s efforts to deal with such accountability demands by means of its Broader Impacts Merit Review Criterion are available here.