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Swedish research to be 'peer-reviewed' abroad

The Local · 12 Oct 2012, 08:29

Published: 12 Oct 2012 08:29 GMT+02:00

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“Sweden will be a world leading research nation,” said Education Minister Jan Björklund to the TT news agency.

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) will now be responsible for establishing the programme, with the institutions to receive funding based on the quality of their output.

Björklund explained that it is thanks to the researchers who take high risks that major breakthroughs are possible, and that the current system puts "too much emphasis on publications and citations."

“If we only award those who succeed we will encourage low risk taking,” he said.

Björklund estimated that by 2016 the funding will be allotted according to this new system.

While Eva Åkesson, head Uppsala University, believes that the idea of quality control from foreign colleagues is good, she sees certain disadvantages to the system.

“One thing is that it can be truly time consuming to do research about research. How much time shall we spend studying one another?” she said.

Tobias Krantz, head for education and research at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt näringsliv) who previously served as Sweden's Minister for Higher Education and Research, is pleased by the proposition, but also slightly disappointed.

He described Sweden as “truly vulnerable” and referred to the shutting down of the research companies at Sony in Lund and Astra Zeneca in Södertälje as examples.

Story continues below…

“What I’m missing is a clear and a little bolder reform agenda to strengthen the Swedish innovation climate,” he said.

TT/The Local/og

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Your comments about this article

09:44 October 12, 2012 by isenhand
Unfortunately, peer review doesn't guarantee "quality" as often research is very narrow in its focus reviewers often have trouble understanding anything new. Instead the way the processes works tends to enforce conformity rather than quality and hinders ground breaking ideas form emerging. Also, this is a good example of changing the goal. We have the goal of "quality" changed into a goal of "getting papers published to get funding" with nothing to say getting a paper published means quality.
11:33 October 12, 2012 by The Groke
My research groups was invited to suggest potential reviewers for our work. A very bad idea, as far as I'm concerned Groups will pick reviewers that are already sympathetic to their way of doing things. We need real critique here.
13:22 October 12, 2012 by engagebrain
Breaking away from the friendship corruption that bedevils Sweden has to be a good idea.

But why wait until 2016.
20:33 October 12, 2012 by Bender B Rodriquez
This proposal is merely an empty gesture since most research is already funded by grants that are internationally peer-reviewed.
05:05 October 13, 2012 by engagebrain
Bender B Rodriquez

you are wrong, substantial sums are made available through Swedish agencies and even EU and international funding can leave scope for locally made assessment.

Friendship corruption is a very Swedish problem, indeed it is not even seen as being a problem, and it results in funding and jobs not being awarded on merit - which is not the most effective way of investing in science.
12:10 October 13, 2012 by entry
Industry with oversight of regulatory agencies nail the bad eggs eventually. In the public sector all research material, data, algorithms(statistical models..etc) and code should be released. The old Pal/peer-review system has been shown to be flawed in many disciplines(psychology is the one that comes to mind and a Dutch scandal but I can't put it on my tongue atm). Public funded academic research should be opensource! Lay it all out and let everyone see it!
10:59 October 15, 2012 by Bender B Rodriquez
@engagebrain: Money from Swedish research trusts such as VR are already peer-review by international reviewers. I know because I get to see the reviews.
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