The Better Science initiative calls for a rethinking of the university towards more sustainability, diversity and equal opportunities.
Academic work should be characterised by sustainability, diversity, and equal opportunities: it should provide quality in a holistic sense, whereby quantity and speed are not the primary considerations. The Better Science Initiative contributes to a rethinking of the current paradigm of quantifiable scientific and scholarly work. Our ten calls to action concerning research, teaching, and administration draw attention to these issues.
Creativity instead of pressure to perform
Work in academia is driven by strong competitive pressure and ever-increasing assessments of performance - what counts seems to be what can be counted: as many publications and citations as possible. In addition to constant availability, researchers are required to acquire third-party funding in a competitive environment. Evaluation and quantification of research places great pressure on researchers, and expectations of teaching quality are high. All of this stands in stark contrast to a healthy workload that allows creativity and open research.
This not only affects academic excellence and diversity, but also the rules of the game and the working conditions of an academic career, and thus also equal opportunities at university. The initiative "Better Science - Academic Culture in the 21st Century" calls for a rethinking of the current paradigm of quantifiable academic academic work in favour of more sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunities in the academy. At university level, the initiative demands quality in a holistic sense rather than quantity and speed. Better Science aims to break with current trends in academia and establish a new culture. This goal can only be achieved if all university members engage with the issues at hand, network, and exchange ideas.
Science policy and universities can do something to counter the market-oriented academia. What is required is a different evaluation practice of research: quality instead of quantity. The Better Science initiative enables and promotes a discourse on the importance of excellence in academia. It draws attention to the problems of accelerated and debilitating science and calls on university members to take action. Ten calls to action serve as a starting point for discussion and encourage rethinking. By raising the awareness of scientists and academics in leading positions, the initiative draws attention to the difficult working environment at universities on a political and social level. Better Science is committed to qualitative, healthy research, equal opportunities, inclusion, diversity, and to sustainable working conditions.
Make demands visible
Work in the academy is driven by strong competitive pressure and increased performance measurement - what counts is what can be counted: as many publications and citations as possible. In addition to constant availability, researchers are required to acquire third-party funding in a competitive environment. The enormous pressure that evaluation and quantification in research, places on researchers, as well as high demands on teaching and the acquisition of external funding, contrasts with a healthy workload that allows creativity and open research.
Lilian Fankhauser, Project Leader
Joel Schaad, Coordination
Abteilung für Gleichstellung der Uni Bern
German, French, English
Gender, Work-life-balance, Health
Practice , Research
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