Riceviamo e volentieri pubblichiamo una breve rassegna di e-mail dal passato remoto (1998) a proposito dei ricercatori e del cartellino, una tematica tornata alla ribalta con le recenti vicende di statali infedeli o meglio, truffatori e delinquenti, che però rischia, come capita spesso, di offuscare il ben più difficile tema dell’efficienza della macchina pubblica (nel nostro caso, della ricerca).
Correva l’anno 1998 …============================================================================I was both surprised and amused at the new bureaucraticrestrictions you have placed on the scientists at INFN. InItaly which created the modern period of scientificresearch, one doesn’t treat scientists like productionworkers in a factory. Can you see Enrico Fermi punching atime clock? There are effective ways to measure scientificproductivity; times clocks are not the way.Leon M. LedermanPhysics Nobel Laureate 1988============================================================================================================================================================I was surprised and saddened to learn of the plan to record andcertify the time spent by researchers at INFN in their laboratories andaway. This was tried once at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory andled to a collapse of morale and general rebellion, and after a fewweeks this program was terminated. Scientists do their work becauseit interests them, not because of any bureaucratic requirements on how theyspend their time. The way to tell if they are working is to lookat what they produce. If this plan at INFN is not cancelled, I predictthat it will become impossible for this laboratory to hold its scientistsor recruit new ones of any quality. Certainly I would never workin an institute that had such requirements for record keeping, andI would not recommend working in such an institute to anyone else.With best wishes,Steven Weinberg============================================================================================================================================================A group of Italian particle physicists have brought to my attentionthe intent of the management of INFN that research personnel should have toclock in and out as they enter their respective institutes in order forINFN to monitor their time spent at their offices and laboratories.If correct, as retired director of SLAC which is one of the majorhigh energy physics institutes of the United States, I would consider sucha development to be unfortunate and counterproductive. During the pastdecade governmental authorities have attempted to apply such regulations tothe conduct of American scientific workers at various institutes. Happilyit has been possible to persuade the authorities to drop such requests bythe argument that the scientific workers’ contributions are carried out notonly at their offices and laboratories but also at other locales, be it athome or visiting other institutes. Attempting to measure what arefundamentally intellectual contributions by the time spent in offices andlaboratories is an exercise in futility.Indeed it is difficult to measure quantitatively the output ofscientific work. Governmental authorities are using many tools to do so:peer reviews, program reviews, survey of the literature, and the like.Time keeping is not a productive approach towards that end. I hope youwill find this observation useful.Sincerely yours,Wolfgang K. H. PanofskyDirector Emeritus============================================================================================================================================================i regret to learn that the infn management has ruled that scientists at itsinstitute must now sign in time cards. in the past similar recommendationswere made for u.s. national research labs, but were, happily, opposed andwithdrawn. i do not believe that slac would have been able to build sooutstanding a world class scientific leadership and successful researchprogram had a time-card punching requirement been established here. what ido reecall very clearly is the question raised by a government bureaucratwith an office at slac, when we first moved on to the slac site in 1966-67.he observed theorists playing soccer during, and somewhat after, the lunchhour on the slac lawn, and came to the director’s office to question thisactivity during the work day. he was politely advised that he couldobserve much more evidence of their work were he to return to the lab afterdinner and well into the late night and early morning hours.i find it most difficult to believe that research scientists willbecome more productive, or the research program will benefit from atime-clock regime. if other issues are involved of which i am uninformed,i have nothing to offer.sidney drell============================================================================================================================================================I have been informed of the new INFN policy regarding time reporting forresearch scientists. I find this policy to be absurd, insulting toresearchers, and entirely unnecessary. In general, it is my experience thatresearch scientists — especially high-energy physicists — spend a greatdeal more than the nominal 40 hours per week on their research activities.The new INFN policy is demeaning to Italian scientists, destructive toItalian Science, and can only result in an enormous waste of time andeffort. I am unaware of any similar policy in effect in my country oranywhere else in the world,Sincerely,Sheldon Lee Glashow=============================================================================