Michael Schreiber , Professor of Theoratical Physics, from Institut für Physik, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany will give a guest talk with title:
"Measures of Science: Merits and Dangers of Rankings in Higher Education"
Evaluations of higher education institutes have become ubiquitous, worldwide, regional, and national, some of them field specific, others more general. However, the methodologies have often been questioned, and the resulting ranking lists frequently differ significantly. This provokes the questions, how useful they are and how serious one should take them.
Most scientists probably do not care, students are somewhat more attentive at least with respect to national comparisons. Politicians use the rankings if the results fit their aims, and administrators love them because of their simplicity. I will discuss these and further aspects, advantages and disadvantages, merits and dangers of rankings.
Many of these evaluations are based on questionnaires. In scientometric investigations apparently objective quantitative measures are studied. For example, based on citation data in bibliometrics measures like the infamous impact factor and the famous Hirsch index are determined.
The time consuming peer review appears to be a good solution for evaluation on a smaller scale like academic hiring, grant applications, manuscript refereeing. But anonymous or not, it suffers from prejudice, subjective opinions, group pressure, and so on. In conclusion, no best way for evaluations exists, and one should be (made) aware of the various difficulties and then be able to combine different approaches in order to avoid the most unfair consequences and inappropriate deductions.
Further information by:
Prof. Ulrich Kleinekathöfer | Professor of Physics | Physics & Earth Sciences | Focus Area Health
E-Mail: u.kleinekathoefer [at] jacobs-university.de | phone: +49 (0)421 200-3523 | homepage: