ESEP 15:63-69 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00164

Scientists can be free, but only once they are tenured

Ferdinando Boero1,2

1University of Salento, DiSTeBA, Via P. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2CNR-ISMAR, Via De Marini 6, 16149 Genoa, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The frenzy for evaluation metrics recognizes the value of research based on the impact factor of the journals that publish the results. Only some areas of science are conducive to publication in the best tribunes. In biology, for instance, organismal biology, or taxonomy, are not very fashionable, whereas molecular or global approaches are trendy. The citation system to measure the quality of a scientist’s work is based on the acceptance of what is published: the more the rest of the scientific community likes it, the higher the value. In this framework there is little space for deviation from norms. Some examples are given here, within the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, that show how difficult it is to enforce ideas, either new or old, that do not follow mainstream thought. In order to obtain tenure it is advisable to conform to mainstream, and publish your results in journals with high impact factors. New things can be attempted ‘after’ tenure has been granted; but ‘after’ is very often ‘too late’.


KEY WORDS: Scientific creativity · Metrics · Ecology · Evolution · Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning · Plankton · Benthos · Fisheries biology


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Cite this article as: Boero F (2015) Scientists can be free, but only once they are tenured. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 15:63-69. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00164

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