The judicial veto of the evaluation of leaders is based on a misunderstanding of the role of science; Read the analysis

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In an unprecedented intervention in National higher education system, the Federal Court of Rio de Janeiro accepted, by way of injunction, a legal action Public minister Determine the suspension of Capes’ assessment activities at a critical time for the current Quadruple Assessment. The procedure is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the values, norms, dynamics and logic that govern scientific performance and related training activities.

Scientific activity is guided by the logic of discovery, while technological development and innovation activities are guided by the search for solutions and opportunities. These activities are characterized by uncertainty, which requires constant and continuous verification of the knowledge generated. This openness and the associated self-assessment procedures constitute the training framework for good scientists and researchers. The system is structured on the basis of the judgment of peers (researchers), based on validation criteria discussed and accepted by these colleagues. To those who have no profession or devotion to science, this system may seem “illegitimate”. Not. It is the organization of scientific activity in the world for centuries that has guided the activity of the main development agencies on the planet.

The facade of the Ministry of Education in Brasilia

Photo: Marcos Oliveira / Agência Senado / Estadão

The Brazilian Postgraduate Assessment System conducted by Capes is, ultimately, the self-assessment process regulated by the National Graduate System itself. It has operated continuously and uninterruptedly for more than half a century, on the basis of evaluation criteria discussed and approved by the community of researchers who form part of it and on the comparative analysis of the programs. This is a significant achievement of the National Science, Technology and Innovation System. State public policy has permeated successive governments and even changed the political system.

The criteria governing the current evaluation of Quadriceps are the result of a broad discussion held in the academic, scientific and technological community since 2017, in which the main associations representing this community (ABC, SBPC, ANDIFES, ABRUEM, ABRUC, FOPROP, CONSECTI, CONFAP, ANPG, among others). These standards were tested and validated during mid-term seminars organized by all evaluation areas in 2019. An improvement is a better appreciation of the contributions of programs to national economic and social development. And now, as the Quadruple Evaluation enters its decisive phase, the work of the MPF echoes isolated voices denying the broad consensus that has been built and proposes to suspend activities and change the evaluation criteria!

With all due respect to the authors of the book, what is your experience in training activities and in scientific and technological research to demonstrate this conception? Who will bear the damage caused by the suspension of evaluation activities for Brazilian postgraduate studies and for national scientific and technological development? Brazilian science demands and deserves respect.

* Professor at the PUC-Rio and at the UFRJ, and member of the CTC in Capes. He was Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, President of FINEP and Scientific Director of FAPERJ


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