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Un nuovo modo di finanziare la ricerca: la lotteria

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Sul Financial Times, Anjana Ahuja parla di una nuova proposta per modificare radicalmente il finanziamento della ricerca in UK. I titoli accademici più altisonanti ormai inducono ad un bias che porta maggiori finanziamenti (dimenticando che non averne, o averne meno, non dovrebbe pregiudicare la bontà di un’idea).

Star names wield an outsize influence over research, as well as in sport and entertainment. A recent analysis revealed that a research paper written jointly by a Nobel laureate and a novice was rejected by 65 per cent of reviewers when only the novice’s name was made visible as the corresponding author — but by just 23 per cent if the laureate’s name was used instead.

Lo status bias può anche avere conseguenze sulla qualità e originalità della ricerca che viene finanziata:

It certainly tends to reward seniority over youth, orthodoxy over originality, and incrementalism over conceptual leaps. That is why the British Academy, which champions research in humanities and social sciences, is piloting a “partial randomisation” approach for its Small Research Grants programme, which receives twice the number of applications it can fund. Selection will become a two-stage process. First, proposals must meet a minimum-quality threshold, decided by peer review. All those making the grade will enter a lottery, with grants of up to £10,000 allocated using a random number generator.

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