Big names or big ideas: Do peer-review panels select the best science proposals?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  24 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6233, pp. 434-438
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0185

eLetters is an online forum for ongoing peer review. Submission of eLetters are open to all. eLetters are not edited, proofread, or indexed.  Please read our Terms of Service before submitting your own eLetter.

Compose eLetter

Plain text

  • Plain text
    No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g.
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

    • PEDRO MARTINEZ, ICREA Research Professor, Departament de Genetica; Universitat de Barcelona (SPAIN)

    It has become a sign of our times (maybe a negative sign) that science is taken, and
    measured, as another economic enterprise. The work undertaken in our
    laboratories needs to go through a process of evaluation that measures us
    (researchers) and what we do (publications, patents, theses, etc.) in quantitative
    terms. While I do not deny that laboratories and research teams need to be
    accountable to our funding agencies, here I would like to dispute the notion that
    output should be measured as “gross production”. “Production”, whatever different
    metrics we use to gauge it (most are highly unsatisfactory; particularly the
    "overrated" Impact Factor), does not reflect the efficiency of our research teams.
    Economists use a far more useful measure of what is being produced:
    “productivity”, which is the ratio of “gross production”/“money invested” or, if you
    prefer, the ratio of output to input.
    In order to better (more fairly) evaluate the efficiency of our teams, I think that
    funding agencies should start relying in the value of our productivity instead of our
    gross production. Implementation of such an approach would, for instance, treat
    smaller groups in a far more balanced way than how they are currently treated.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

Stay Connected to Science