ERA demands an urgent meeting with Gelmini to discuss the policies on researcher employment, university financing and teachers’ salaries.
The “Esperanto” Radical Association writes to Gelmini expressing its concerns about the following issues; hiring researchers, financing university and paying the teaching staff will be tied to bibliometric indicators and based exclusively on an anglosaxon database which automatically favours what is produced in the English language, as seen with the Institute for Scientific Information, which answers to the American company, Thompson Scientific.
It’s important, the letter reads, that the Minister bears in mind our country’s linguistic diversity and its cultural details, and that the Italian language should not be penalized de jure or de fact by the evalutation system that the Minister intends to adopt.
It’s necessary to develop a system of bibliometric indicators which can, for example, be calculated in relation to the demographic “measure” of the linguistic community. This system has to be based on multilingual databases which reflect the actual number of scientists in the accademic world that are not anglophiles, and that the system gives the right visibility to the academic journals that are currently and unfairly being excluded from the American databases.
The letter continues to explain that this can be done in order to avoid the “prophecy from verifying itself,” meaning, avoiding that the English journals become the only journals that count, as the more researchers are pushed to published in these journals, the more they enforce the linguistic discrimination of non-English-speaking researchers, and therefore increasing the economical advantages that the English-speaking countries are currently enjoying even more. It would also allow a sustainable conduct of linguistic diversity which will have positive fallbacks on scientists’ creativity, as well as counterbalancing the great advantage the English-speaking countries have from the hegemony of their language.
Click here to read the original letter.