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Anti-corruption efforts shape how nations judge research

Policies to counter nepotism influence evaluation processes and attitudes to reform, says John Whitfield

Last November, two Spanish science-policy researchers, Ismael Rafols and Jordi Molas-Gallart, drew attention to the fact that in Spain, university hiring and promotion decisions are signed off by government agencies at national or regional level. 

This system, they wrote, was “introduced in the 2000s to reduce nepotism” but has resulted in the agencies taking a “rigid and standardised” approach based on journal rankings. Universities, they argued, need more autonomy.   

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