Traditions and the Present Days
The author of this book formulates a general thesis that in the academic culture, since the emergence of the first universities until this very day, two types of that culture have competed with each other, i.e., a corporate and templar one. In his remarks, the author tries to highlight it through the presentation of:
1. The functioning of academia in different time periods, 2. The beliefs of scholars, 3. The ways scholarly achievements have been evaluated, 4. The legal acts for science and academia. A considerable part of this study is devoted to the analysis of the Polish academic culture, including the attempts of adjusting the existing standards of conducting research and educating students to the ones prevailing in the leading Western countries.
Chapter Three: Evaluation of Scientific Achievement
One of the widely discussed issues in the academic milieu today is such an evaluation of scientific achievement that would be relatively objective and convincing, a problem I have already referred to in the first part. At this point, I would like to address it more broadly as well as situate it in the context of the Polish academic realities. Admittedly, the issue is a global (international) one, but it does tend to assume certain astonishing form in the local (national) environment. At any rate, the matter should be discussed in all seriousness, while the methods of assessing the value of one’s achievement objected to if they are all too simplified or yield a skewed picture of such achievement. Thus, the deliberations that follow are intended as a contribution to the discussion.
Using impact factor is one of the controversial means of appraising the value of one’s output. Its underlying assumption is that scientific achievement can be measured with virtually mathematical precision and provide indicators which will render its actual value. I do not claim that the indicators reflect no value of scientific research but argue instead that they reveal merely one of the possible values involved, which is by no means the most relevant. I also claim that the current applications and treatment of the factor constitute such a modification which consists in substantial simplification of what has functioned quite well in science for centuries. However, a significant impact not only took much longer to achieve in...
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