Academic Writing Update

Anna Hatch. To fix research assessment, swap slogans for definitions. Nature, 04 December 2019.
Evaluation reforms will go round in circles without conceptual clarity, warns Anna Hatch.
Seven years ago scientists demanded that assessment and evaluation should include all scholarly outputs — preprints, code, data, peer review, teaching, mentoring and so on.
Today, thousands have signed the resulting Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Academic writing / Definition of predatory journal

16 Dec 2019
Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature, 11 December 2019.
Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship. It took 12 hours of discussion, 18 questions and 3 rounds to reach.

Research policy / How to improve the quality of research?

14 Dec 2019
Marcus Munafo. Raising research quality will require collective action. Nature, 10 Dec 2019.
Institutions must act together to reform research culture, says Marcus Munafò. Funding, appointments, promotions, tenure, prizes and so on emphasize individual achievement and overlook deeds that benefit everyone and should be valued explicitly, such as producing usable tools or sharing code.
If we want to move towards a transparent model of research, we need to reward open-research practices. If we want researchers to work well in large collaborations, we need to train them in communication skills and collective self-scrutiny.