Working in science and research is a continuous process of comparing, discussing, rediscovering, calculating, programming, building consensus and debating. On top of that, researchers must be prepared to repeat their experiments, rethink their approach, and sometimes revise statements and admit that an error has been made. To help further the development of evidence-based knowledge, science and research must be guided by standards, established methods, the measurement of quality, publication rules, ethics, and suitable incentive schemes.
Yet the quality of research is repeatedly compromised because researchers feel under pressure to increase their publication rate, or because the value of their papers is principally measured against the reputation of the journal in which they appear. In many disciplines, including psychology and biomedicine, there is a constant deluge of new published findings, some of which, however, are or have not been evaluated for robustness. So, what needs to be done to reign in the ‘publish or perish’ mentality, i.e. to initiate change in a system that primarily rewards those who produce higher volumes of published work? How can research quality standards keep pace with the accelerated rate at which knowledge is being produced?
To discuss these somewhat complex questions, today’s host Nancy Fischer will be talking to: the psychologist Gordon Feld from the Central Institute of Mental Health at Heidelberg University, who has led a project on improving methods for sleep research at the College for Life Science at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin; Miriam Kip, a physician and health scientist from the QUEST Center for Responsible Research at the Berlin Institute of Health, where she heads the Incentives and Indicators project team; and Edward Miguel, an economist, Director of the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences, and jury member of the Berlin Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research. The episode is in English.
Episode editors: Eva Murasov (Einstein Foundation), Anja Sommerfeld (FVB/BR50) and Gregor Hofmann (WZB/BR50).