Is the best way of incentivising open scholarship to measure it? Lizzie Gadd is not so sure.
There is a lot of talk at the moment about measuring open scholarship as means of incentivising it. For example, the European Commission’s recently updated recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information calls for member states to change the academic evaluation system by introducing “additional indicators and metrics that can inform assessment on openness”. The LERU Open Science roadmap is another, suggesting universities “embed Open Science principles in the institutional research assessment system, shifting away from an excessive reliance on publication-based journal impact factors and citation cultures and recognising Open Science approaches such as OA publishing, data/code/reagent sharing.” I have sympathy with these objectives. We all want openness, and we all believe Campbell’s Law – i.e., the way you measure someone is the way they’ll behave. It’s just that the more I think about it, the more concerns I have that measuring openness might not be the best way of achieving it. So as a form of blog therapy, I have laid out my fears in this post in the hope that either someone can reassure me that I’m overthinking this, or that we might adjust our collective view about the best way forward here.