Historically, academic institutions have mostly rewarded single actors who are the first to publish important or impactful results. Universities hired and promoted scholars based mostly on their publication records. Agencies, such as the NIH and NSF, evaluated scholars on their publication records. This system incentivized researchers to exaggerate their individual contributions, and potentially to hoard data and hide mistakes, in the interests of competition. It might also have incentivized individual labs and researchers to work alone, even when collaborations could be better for scientific progress. How can we fix the incentives?
- Yarkoni, T. (2018). “No, it’s not The Incentives—it’s you.”
- A 5-minute discussion about incentives during promotion and hiring from the launch of CORES, center for reproducible research at Stanford; minutes 41-46.
- How to change incentives: The Wellcome Foundation’s “Guidance” for research organisations on how to implement responsible and fair approaches for research assessment.
- Should advertising of ‘open’ behaviors be opt-in or by external audit? Episode of the Everything Hertz podcast discussing the controversy about transparency audits (start at 3:30).
- Tiokhin, L., Yan, M., & Morgan, T. J. (2021). “Competition for priority harms the reliability of science, but reforms can help.” Nature Human Behaviour, 1-11.