Many universities rely on the use of publication in indexed journals such as high-impact factor journals like Scopus as one of the most important criteria to help academics advance from assistant professor to full professor positions. However, unfortunately, the intense focus on this criterion has led to some negative practices in the academic field, where the goal of many academics within their educational institutions has become researching for publication rather than for impact, and quantity has become more important than quality.
Another negative practice is the exchange of academic colleagues by putting their names on research papers despite differences in their exact specialization or not even having participated in the research at all.
It is surprising to find that some university professors publish more than twenty indexed international papers with high impact factor in a single academic year, which is a very difficult number to achieve in reality.
Another negative aspect is that many academics resort to pressuring graduate students, which causes a delay in their graduation date in order to publish scientific papers from research materials, either as the first or second author of the scientific paper.
To clarify, scientific research and its publication are very important, and they are one of the foundations of scientific research, but we must renew the promotion system so that this criterion is not applied formally without any real impact.
For example, adopting the “tangible social impact factor” as an important tool for academic promotions will give academics other options to serve students, society, and the industrial sector, such as publishing in local scientific journals to encourage the local community to engage in scientific research. Also, providing industrial solutions to institutions instead of relying entirely on consulting companies that offer solutions without providing a knowledge transfer factor.
Finally, academics’ involvement in working with students to form startups to encourage academic entrepreneurship and activate the role of business incubators that exist in most universities.
By providing these options or others, the unhealthy obsession with publishing scientific research will decrease, and academics will have other options to serve society that can be just as valuable.
Ghanim Kashwani, PhD CEng FICE