Spain’s much-maligned system for evaluating scientists, in which the sole criterion for career advancement is the publication of papers, is set to be overhauled under new proposals from the country’s National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (ANECA).
The reforms, announced earlier this month, would for the first time see researchers at Spain’s public universities evaluated on a range of outputs besides papers, and would also encourage the distribution of findings via open-access platforms. Many scientists are welcoming the move, saying it will help academia move on from a system that has been described as establishing a “dictatorship of papers.”
Under the new system, ANECA wants assessments to consider a broader range of research outputs, including “publications, patents, reports, studies, technical works, artistic works, exhibitions, archaeological excavations, [and the] creation of bibliographic records.” Assessors will no longer consider only the impact factor of the journals in which scientists publish, but also details such as whether the research reaches nonacademic audiences through news reports or government documents. Papers will also score more highly when coproduced with local communities or other nonacademic authors. And in an attempt to reduce the level of public funds being spent on publication costs, assessors will take into account papers published on noncommercial, open-access publishing platforms that don’t charge author fees, such as Open Research Europe.