The book behind this discussion stresses how the issue of the ideology of evaluation, a corollary of the ideology of meritocracy, is related to scientific research, framing it in an economic-political and politico-economic context that leaves no space for alternatives, without which politics simply does not exist. The system of evaluation of universities and research promoted by the competent Italian national agency ANVUR seriously distorts academic work in all sectors and at all levels, absorbing considerable resources, of which research is thus deprived. This system of evaluation, which is serial but not always serious, needs to be countered by an alternative approach to evaluation that is not centralised, monopolised, all-seeing or standardising, but informal, diffuse, horizontal, reciprocal and concerned not so much with guaranteeing ‘rigorous’, ‘regular’, ‘normal’ research, as with stimulating original, ‘exceptional’ and ‘revolutionary’ research. If evaluating is tantamount to breathing for a researcher, ANVUR cannot breathe for everyone.
Keywords: Scientific research - Evaluation - Meritocracy - Automatic pilot - Freedom of science