Sustainability of photosynthesis research–when research is impeded by the cults of audit and management

Abstract

In this article, related to a talk given at the International Meeting “Photosynthesis Research for Sustainability–2015”, we honor Dr. George C. Papageorgiou, a highly respected scientist and an outstanding teacher and mentor. Praising him for these virtues, indispensable for research sustainability, we also bring to discussion aspects that undermine nowadays both education and research sustainability. We argue that these aspects are principally created by the predominant bureaucratic system, which, by favoring short-term utilitarian orientations and obeying “market laws”, jeopardizes university freedom and autonomy, and has turned to “measuring” scientific “production” and establishing accordingly designed funding policies and hiring/firing/promotion criteria, which lead to merit-chasing, grant-hunting, changes in publication practice, and suppression of heterodox ideas. Such system impedes research, creates antagonism, and drives the potentially creative researcher away from originality and discovery, and from the unique satisfaction and benefit that these bring.

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Correspondence to M. Tsimilli-Michael.

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Dedicated to George C. Papageorgiou, who has been serving for more than 50 years the science and education of photosynthesis with integrity and devotion.

Acknowledgements: We thank Prof. John F. Allen (University College London, UK) and Prof. Robert C. Jennings (University of Milan, Italy) for critical reading of the manuscript and valuable suggestions.

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Tsimilli-Michael, M., Haldimann, P. Sustainability of photosynthesis research–when research is impeded by the cults of audit and management. Photosynthetica 55, 391–400 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11099-017-0686-3

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Additional key words

  • academic merit
  • academic freedom
  • bibliometrics
  • grantsmanship
  • research assessment