Sul Journal of the American Medical Association un articolo di Joyner, Paneth e Ioannidis punta il dito contro lo spreco di fondi pubblici legato alla valutazione bibliometrica di ricerche. Numero di pubblicazioni, citazioni e premi possono facilmente divenire self-rewarding artifacts capaci di tenere in vita (ex-)grandi idee anche dopo che hanno tradito le loro promesse in termini di benefici sanitari.
«When NIH funds translational or preclinical research with specific deliverables promised (as in the case of personalized medicine, and stem cell therapy), independent assessors should regularly appraise whether these deliverables were achieved and, if so, at what cost, and with what effect. Assessors must be objective, independent of the funding source, and have no professional stake in whether a particular line of research is deemphasized. The deliverable criterion should include public health benefit achieved by these initiatives (ie, measurable reductions in mortality and morbidity). Criteria such as number of publications, citations, prizes, and recognition are irrelevant as these are simply self-rewarding artifacts of the system. After several decades of substantial investment, the fundamental question is whether these big ideas have improved quality of life and life expectancy, by how much, for how many, and for whom. These are public dollars that should benefit the many, not the few.»
Joyner, M. J., Paneth, N., & Ioannidis, J. P. (2016). What Happens When Underperforming Big Ideas in Research Become Entrenched?. JAMA.