Tired of Rankings

Tired of Rankings

Author: ChemViews

Professor Peter R. Schreiner, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany, and chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Universitätsprofessoren und -professorinnen für Chemie (ADUC; Working group of German chemistry university professors) questions if ratings and rankings are beneficial to sciences.

In his editorial in Chemie in Unserer Zeit he compares growing a carrot with sciences. Determined supply of nutrition or continuous and long-term research funding demonstrably leads to good crop or excellent scientific results and eventually to a high reputation of the scientist and the respective institution. In contrast, pulling the carrot out of earth to see if it is growing or monitoring an increasing number of ratings, like that of the science council (Forschungsrating des Wissenschaftsrats) and Rankings like the CHE-university ranking of the newspaper Zeit, is questionable.

Schreiner concludes that many professors do not advocate ratings and rankings because of the relatively small amount of additional gain of knowledge, the high effort, and ultimately because of their unpredictable consequences. Quite the contrary, after years of profound and lasting changes at German universities more freedom for creative research and teaching is demanded.

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