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Showing posts from April, 2013

The Value of Science

The number of publications and citations, possibly rescaled into more complex relations like the Hirsch-index or fashionable derivatives thereof, are widely accepted parameters to quantify ,scientific quality‘.  In times of scarce financial resources, transparency is imperative for allocating funds, and it is more than understandable that substantial investments in science are best legitimized by ,useful‘ research results.  This goes along with the belief that scientific quality can somehow be objectively measured and the whole process of 'doing science' can ultimately be subjected to some sort of controlling.  While the drive for excellence and usefulness is agreed upon - their definition and measurability, however, is far from clear. It seems rather straightforward to translate usefulness into technological applicability of the research results, favouring in general strictly application-orientated and and even product-driven applied research over basic research, which o