Scientific fraud: The case of the Spanish university rector should prompt change to ranking system

June 24, 2024 article from El País.

The founders of Retraction Watch, an organization specialized in research misconduct, call for eliminating the incentives to manipulate metrics.

“The case has now attracted the attention of the Spanish Research Ethics Committee, which ‘has urged the University of Salamanca to exercise ‘its powers of inspection and sanction’ in the face of ‘the alleged bad practices’ by Corchado.’

Why would such bad practices help Corchado and the university? Because so much of the various ranking systems’ rubrics — factors that help determine funding from government agencies as well as competition for student enrollment — are based on citations, which are particularly easy to manipulate. In other words, the better individual scientists look on paper, the better their institutions appear.”