The farce of research output


This June 5, 2022 photo shows the Commission on Higher Education’s building in Diliman, Quezon City. PHOTO BY ALVIN I. DACANAY

IT is the season of scams. There are scams dealing with bank accounts, others dealing with the construction industry, others still with sugar importation. The scam I am piqued about is research in higher education institutions.

In universities and colleges, the Commission on Higher Education — that I hope will be abolished unless it is seriously revamped soon — has placed a premium on research.

Professors and instructors must not only teach. They must write and publish. Why this requirement? The theory of course is that the professor who researches is in touch with developments in her field of expertise and area of ​​competence. A researcher, after all, must access the latest literature in the discipline and must contribute his own, supposedly to “broaden the frontiers of human understanding.” That is the theory. Sadly, the whole endeavor has been scammed.

First, there is the phenomenon of “group researches” — and many times this means that while one or two may actively do research, three or four more who probably did nothing more than treat the researching two to dinner or to snacks add their names — and by the decadent standards of CHEd, this is acceptable! It is a sad fact repeated throughout the country that students’ research projects are hijacked by their professors who append their names as co-authors if not main authors to research done by their students.

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Second, the system of funded research has also been scammed. I am aware of grants from CHEd for research, and I am aware of the output of these researches. Millions of pesos go into mediocre and sophomoric papers that are passed off as high-level research. Without a system of review from the funding agencies, including CHEd, even the most innocuous of research topics gets paid handsomely, at taxpayers’ expense.

It is not too difficult to detect a scam. When you have a hefty grant in the hands of academic “hoodlums,” what happens is that they come up with proposals that give the impression of being promising and truly engaging. However, when the final output is submitted, one easily discerns the dross produced by elementary research methods and pallet research designs.

Third, ever since this blighted agency of higher education — CHEd — required publications in so-called high impact journals by publishers such as Elsevier and Springer, the production of research has also been scammed in that anyone wishing to see his paper published in one of the so-called peer-reviewed, high-impact journals must pay a handsome sum. The result of the course is that if the university or college is unwilling to foot the bill, the professor must shell out what these publishers demand. Put in the simplest terms, you get published because you can afford the costs of publication.

This is a scam — and it is as deleterious, harmful and despicable as other scams!


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