COVID-19 Impacts Highlight the Need for Holistic Evaluation of Research in the Hydrologic Sciences

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Adam Scott Ward 


As we reckon with the effect of COVID-19 on the research enterprise in hydrologic science, it is important to acknowledge that disruptions will be persistent and that institutional-level adjustments, while helpful, are not sufficient to mitigate all impacts on hydrologic scientists. Here, we describe the breadth of research contributions in the hydrologic sciences, consider how the pandemic has impacted this portfolio of contributions, document one impact that is already being realized in publication of research, and suggest guidance to the hydrologic science community, institutions, review panels, and funding organizations in considering these impacts at various stages of hiring and promotion in our community. Acknowledging the diversity of contributions to research is particularly valuable because it provides a more objective, transparent, and holistic basis for evaluating individuals within the context of norms of the hydrologic science community. With clearly established values, it is easier to identify impacts of life events, such as those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are manifested in individuals under a diversity of circumstances.



Earth Sciences, Hydrology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


COVID-19, Pandemic, promotion, tenure, reserach, comment, opinion


Published: 2021-12-06 01:52

Last Updated: 2022-02-11 10:54

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
The authors declare no conflict of interest. The opinions expressed in this commentary reflect the views of the authors and should not be construed as endorsement nor concurrency of funding agencies nor the authors’ individual institutions.

Data Availability (Reason not available):
The data are available from Water Resources Reserach by request

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