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Information Literacy Research Skill Building: Major Criteria for Evaluation of Science Authors

This guide contains information literacy instructional materials based on the ACRL Information Literacy Standards.

Major Criteria for Evaluation of Science Authors

Created by C. Anelli 2011   – Fall 11

Major Criteria for Evaluation of Science Authors

 

Note:  These criteria are intended as a guide to screen out non-reliable claims from non-experts.  When experts are truly in conflict about data or an issue, your evaluation may come down to the opinions of sources (including people) that you trust the most. 

 

 

Remember to consider the academic field or issue in question when evaluating the scientist’s credibility/expertise.

Strength of Evidence

for Criterion

Criterion for scientist

Absent/

      Modest

Adequate/

Very Good

Outstanding

Formal education  (PhD, post-doc, visiting scientist, sabbatical, etc.)

 

 

 

Publications  (peer reviewed, number of, Impact Factor, citation

              record, review articles, books/book chapters, currency,

               reputation of collaborators)

 

 

 

Grants & funding sources (number, $, years funded, national vs in-house; U.S. science:  NSF, NIH, USDA= national level; whether

            source is potential conflict of interest)

 

 

 

Professional employment now/past  (college/university, state or

            federal agency; “think-tank,” politically active group)

 

 

 

Scientific awards & honors  (endowed/distinguished chairs, HHMI

           scientist, national/international recognition: Lasker, Nobel;

            National Academy of Sciences (NAS) membership, Fulbright)

 

 

 

Invited talks (for whom, what level (national, regional, etc.)),

           keynote address) e.g., Gordon Conference

 

 

 

Blue-ribbon panel, advisory board, etc. (national/international level)

 

 

 

Grant panel/study section (NIH, NSF, other high-level agencies)

 

 

 

Reviewer for journals (high impact factor), academic press books

 

 

 

Editorship, Editorial Board member

 

 

 

Scientific society elected leadership service

 

 

 

University/college committees

 

 

 

Mass media  (interviews w/ major news agencies, documentaries,

            TV show, etc., nationally/internationally; featured in top

            science journals—on cover or special report)

 

 

 

Courses taught/students trained  (UG/graduate/postdoc etc.)

 

 

 

Consultancy  (consider reputation/potential bias of group/person)

 

 

 

Webpage  (bias or agenda, political/religious leaning)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion for issue

 

 

 

Scientific consensus  (also consider source for this info)

 

 

 

Researcher(s)’ reputation in the field

 

 

 

 

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