Read this! Dutch Study on “Baseline Grant” System for Research Funding (Guest Post by Andrew Gow)

Dear colleagues,

I urge you to read this thought piece on our current research funding model. It presents a simple and cost-effective alternative to our current labour-intensive method of allocating funding. The potential results are surprising.

Just as our local FEC process grinds endlessly to produce average outcomes almost identical to the pay scales at York University, where salaries are based on seniority and progress through the ranks (with a very few salary outliers at UofA, namely the very productive and the very unproductive publishers), so too does the research granting culture of Canada and many other countries devote endless time and human resources to picking winners, when — as this article suggests — research money could be allocated quite fairly and with minimal effort by simply distributing it evenly across those eligible to apply for it, and allowing them to spend it on the existing approved items, accumulate it for one big project, aggregate it with their colleagues, or turn it back into the pot. While anonymous double-blind peer review might guarantee standards, it also licences anonymous, unaccountable abuse and gate-keeping, factionalism, and innovation-blocking. Our candidacy, thesis defence, and hiring processes alone ought to be sufficient guarantee of scholarly credentials to be trusted with research funds.

Best wishes,

Andrew Gow

History & Classics

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