You may recall that in last Friday’s blog I was looking at scientific output of world-class universities. I could do that thanks to quite an excellent database available from Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies, developers of the excellent multi-dimensional Leiden Rankings, which do a strong job of comparing university research output and impact. I have covered this output and impact a couple of times before back here and here. This same data can be used to compare Canadian institutions – or at least the … [ Read More ]
The post-Naylor Report effort to get big new investments in fundamental science is in trouble. Bluntly, the Finance Department appears not to be buying the argument that fundamental research is, in fact, a good investment. I’m not 100% surprised: the Naylor mostly tended to assume the wider benefits of research to economic growth rather than demonstrate or prove it, and the big U-15 institutions have banked everything on a rhetorical strategy of: money for research à a miracle occurs à innovation and growth! A … [ Read More ]
Over the past few days, I’ve been providing a lot of data on how well global “world-class universities” are faring (briefly: most of them are doing pretty well, the ones in Canada much less so). But to some degree the real question is: does any of this matter? Do higher expenditures per student actually result in greater academic output? And if not, why not?
To answer this question requires a quick detour into the issue of bibliometrics. If you try … [ Read More ]
You can tell it’s pre-budget consultation time in Ottawa because university Presidents are writing op-eds about the importance of research and backing the Naylor Report. But man, are they ever unconvincing.
Let’s start with University of Toronto President Meric Gertler’s September 12th Toronto Star op-ed entitled “Don’t Let the World Pass Us By on Science”. The sentiment is fine, I suppose, but the specific evidence Gertler uses to back up his claim is – to put it politely – weak. It says … [ Read More ]
You may have seen the results of a poll out last week from Abacus Canada for Universities Canada, one which purports to look at “how Canadians feel about universities”. I suspect you will hear a lot of this poll over the next few months, especially with respect to research and the Naylor report. But it’s always worth approaching these things with a skeptical eye, so let’s spend a little time looking at the poll and how the questions were put together to … [ Read More ]