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What gets measured is what can be easily measured

What gets measured is what can be easily measured

It’s been about 20 years since professors’ salaries were changed drastically: from salary C to salary W. Since then, individual negotiable benefits have been paid in addition to a lower base salary.

In Berlin, where the base salary is relatively low, the benefits make an especially big difference. Example: Professors in the highest salary group at Humboldt University receive an average of 2,000 to 3,000 euros in benefits per month.

At the same time, there are criticisms of the basis for performance payments, which are indicators of academic performance. It is often not measured how much a person has been inspired, creative, or colleagues, whether they have contributed to a scientific breakthrough or reduced dropout rate through committed teaching. Instead, what is measured is what is most easily measured: the extent of third-party money being raised rather than the efficiency of the search. or the number of publications rather than the quality of a new idea.

Jules Specht He is a psychologist and professor at Humboldt University. She is also involved in university politics and defends the interests of postdocs, for example. In this column, she writes alternately with Johannes Vogel, Ulrik Freitag and Barış Unal about the current university and scholarly topics of interest to Berlin.

Above all, however, it is the continuation of negotiations regarding external appointments that increases the benefits. This is odd in that a person with an outwardly showing reputation would be a particularly good fit at another university, only to stay at his former university and be better paid there.

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Finally, the earlier indicators are also systematically distorted: they generally favor male scientists and people in male-dominated disciplines. In Berlin this is also reflected in the gender wage gaps of up to €800.

Perhaps it would be useful for science to return to the principle of “equal pay for equal work” rather than relying on distorted performance indicators.

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