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.

Related Articles


"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 October 25, 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 October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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