Research

Chapter 3 of Science and the Economic Crisis 

Neo-liberal policies have the same general effect in the universities as they do in society as a whole. In society, their tendency has been to form large inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth. Similarly, in the case of higher education and scientific research, more and more funding is going to a few privileged universities and their researchers at the expense of the others. This is justified on the grounds that these universities and researchers are better than the others, so that it more efficient to concentrate funding on them. To find out how to distribute funding regular research assessments are conducted. But how accurate are these research assessments in picking out the researchers who are better from those who are not so good? It is argued that research evaluation as well as the pressure to reward the top-excellence is enhancing conformism and thus it is stifling the diversification of research, the essential element to develop innovations and new technologies. Is competition increasing researchers productivity and differentiation of research projects? How to test that a method of organization and evaluation of science is more efficient than another? Historical examples of discoveries in physics and mathematics in the past thirty years, as the super-high-temperature conductivity, the scanning tunneling microscope, graphene, and others, allow us to clarify how scientific research proceeds and how the findings of basic research are transformed into technological innovations. #ScienceEconomicCrisis

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