In our own thing: research community now also sentenced to damages

In our own thing: research community now also sentenced to damages

Photo: sang hyun cho, pixabay license

With the sixth and last judgment, an almost eight-year legal dispute comes to an end

Below is a dispute between the netherlands research community (NWO) and me. As one of the process parties, I am naturally biased. But I am not a billing, but about the discussion of some aspects that seem important to me for the political and above all science policy discussion as a whole. Because many public sectors (education, health, administration, partly justice) are now based on the competitive and profit model.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the millennium: I just started studying, the episis of different public areas but already in full swing. In particular, in particular, the bologna’s explanation of 1998 is recalled, in which the ministers of sciences, not the scientists, the european university landscape, wrote the ideas of standardization, comparability and competition in the regular book. More generally, it’s about the "new public management", to german: public reform administration.

Everything better make the competition

At that time, in the netherlands, the PVDA science minister ronald plasterk (ie according to the german model a SPD man) the universities € 100 million of their budget and said that the money had to access the researchers on the sinking of projectants. Through the competition and finally the (supposed) bestlook should increase the scientific quality. "The invisible hand of the market makes it!" so became and will be justified in the incorporation of german excellence initiatives.

If today the university staff is so stressed in many countries, then that not only has to do with the permanent shorts with rising student numbers. According to a nature survey from 2016, scientists can name only 38% of their time investing in research. 21% were consumed for administration and writing research.

The majority gave an increase in administrative tasks. What the follow-up costs for society are that many of their creative heads have to invest so much time to make forms in the forms of forms, which can only be speculated. It breaks my heart when I see that today we even judge the quality of teaching based on how well someone forms forms. It seems like the burokrats and managers won final.

But we stay with the topic: I do not want to deny that a certain MAB competition has positive effects. Targeted requirement instead of funds distribution after the gable cancellation principle also has their permission. But even driving researchers are already criticizing a hyper competition today who scares many in research.

Of course, with such a central distribution, it must be ensured that it is with right things. We already debate the taxpayer who makes our overhead with his work only possible.

The model casting show

You can think of the casting and talent shows that have become so popular today. "Germany is looking for the super scientist." in the literature literature, which I carried out in recent years, the model for funds is also compared with a protective competition. However, a rough difference is that the casting shows in science are usually not decided on audience, but behind sealed treatments. That should be careful.

After all, it is (at european level) year by billions of billions. The NWO alone, with which I know in the following detailed, gets from taxpayers to around € 800 million. This is once used a batient for self-administration. From the rest, a coarse part of the research application is distributed according to the competitive model. For this, the scientists must apply for the funds at certain points days with a request.

The decisions do not meet officials alone, but usually on recommendation of scientific bodies. Their members are determined here in the netherlands but from the officials themselves: top down. Since you can already ask yourself how objective is the choice and what opportunities have, for example, people who are critical about the ideas of the leading science politicians in all public. After all, these are the bosses of those who put together the bodies.

It should be mentioned on the edge that it goes every now and then too "dealer" auber the full-time assignment paths comes. The administrative body flows a rough discretion – or maybe just break the law without it being absorbed by someone?

Secret also makes it difficult for a critic and you come quickly in proof. But my experiences show that it is not impossible to force the administration with the means of the law in the knees. Above all, one can not be baked from the officials and needs a long breath. For a better understanding of the facts, I summarize a few contents in the following.

It started in 2011

Shortly after my promotion in cognitive science, I moved to the netherlands. There I learned about the veni, VIDI, VICI call program of the NWO, which a coarse part of the funds is awarded. Depending on the career level, you can apply for funds for his own research center, the construction of a team or even the acquisition of expensive instruments.

These programs are very high and accordingly added the winners of these tenders high prestige. On the other hand, the success rate often not more than 10-15%.

In 2011, I first applied a project for the first time. Already during my doctoral time, the overstatement of many colleagues in the imaging brain research had been a thorn in the eye. In addition to reasonable basic research in this area, it is recalled that with the expensive nuclear resinsomographs and other apparatus, one recognizes lugues that predict the danger of criminal offenses, placing psychiatric diagnoses or also explained moral judgments.

The latter was my own field of research. But even in 2020, nothing was invited to this promise. I kept that for ours and stopped in 2009.

The universitat groningen gave me the opportunity to think about as theoretician. We have the only department for theory and history of europe’s psychology and only one of three worldwide. In my research project, it should be why the conclusion of a measured brain activation on the (mutably) associated psychological advances is actually so difficult.

In particular, I wanted to examine what about individuals with these procedures: mostly, while the mentioned application examples mandatory require a concrete statement to meet a particular person, the mostly used statistical procedures scissors all the experimental persons over a crest and do so as we all had the same brains. There is no fingerprint the other.

What makes us unique to treat many analyzes actually considered measurement error! How does this fit to a science that is absorbed to explain to people? Basically, I formulated in my telepolis book from 2011 (the neuro society: such as brain research law and morality challenges). The research project should put my ideas on methodologically sound legs and also involve the ethical-legal aspects. For this purpose, I had supported researchers in this area, especially in germany, their support.

In our own thing: research community now also sentenced to damages

The headquarters of the dutch research foundation (NWO) in the hague. In self-representation, this administrative body claims: "trustworthy: NWO hold, what promises, is integer, transparent and careful." photos. Mucus

In the processing of my research application, however, it came to irregularities. Although I received the top grade from a reviewer. A second gave me the worst rating. Blob did not agree with many of his arguments and even awarded him to evaluate certain formally necessary aspects of my project.

I think that the commission had to notice and better a third opinion had to catch up, at least the appraiser but to submit a correct assessment had to ask.

After re-language with experienced colleagues at my institute, I sent the NWO a protest letter. Back came after my impression rather half-hearted explanation. I flew out. That happens. Point. In the following year 2012 I had a second (and last) chance. So I revised my research request and tried again.