Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Models to predict scientists' future impact often fail

Date:
October 30, 2013
Source:
Aalto University
Summary:
Models universities partially use to forecast scientists' future contributions are not as reliable as previously thought. Mathematical analysis of past performance cannot reliably determine the future performance, researchers say. This means that current models dangerously overestimate the predictability and should not be used for career advancement decision process.

Researchers are at work.
Credit: Aalto University

Models universities partially use to forecast scientists' future contributions are not as reliable as previously thought. In a recent study, Aalto University and IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca researchers demonstrate mathematical analysis of past performance cannot reliably determine the future performance. This means that current models dangerously overestimate the predictability and should not be used for career advancement decision process.

"Based on our results, the predictability of current models for real application in recruitment decisions is questionable. Efforts to model future impact need to be aimed more directly at applications in the career advancement decision process," says Professor Santo Fortunato from Aalto University in Finland.

In recent years it has become more common for universities to use quantitative measures for yard-sticking the productivity and impact of individual researchers to help reduce hiring risks. Models thought to be capable of foreseeing a scientist's future impact by way of his or her future 'h-index' have become a common tool in recruitment decisions as well as other scientific evaluation, advancement, and reward processes.

Scientists concluded that great caution should be taken when attempting to forecast an individual's future based on their 'h-index'. Specifically the authors show that it is easy to grossly overestimate the predictability of cumulative measures over a person's entire career.

The study analyzed 762 scientists from three disciplines: physics, biology, and mathematics. By applying future impact models to these careers, a number of subtle, but critical, flaws in current models were identified. Specifically, the 'h-index' contains false autocorrelation, resulting in a significant overestimation of "predictive power." Moreover, the "predictive power" of these models vary greatly with the career age of scientists, producing least accurate estimates for already risk-burdened early career researchers.

Aalto researchers concluded that care must be taken to select the correct measures and methods to evaluate scientific candidates in the future. Increased attention should be paid to the potential shortfalls of quantitative methods when applied to the decision-making process.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aalto University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Orion Penner, Raj K. Pan, Alexander M. Petersen, Kimmo Kaski, Santo Fortunato. On the Predictability of Future Impact in Science. Scientific Reports, 2013; 3 DOI: 10.1038/srep03052

Cite This Page:

Aalto University. "Models to predict scientists' future impact often fail." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030092952.htm>.
Aalto University. (2013, October 30). Models to predict scientists' future impact often fail. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030092952.htm
Aalto University. "Models to predict scientists' future impact often fail." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030092952.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins