I personally know a handful of OA or similar award recipients, and in many cases what I see is the effectiveness of the networks they belong to in rewarding their own, rather than any intrinsic worth. Is it enough if their peers think it’s enough?

I am directly involved in the awarding process in two organisations, and I have to say it’s not easy to do. No-one wants to give an award for “just doing your job”, but if you have a candidate for recognition within their chosen profession or speciality, what exactly is it that they should have done to justify that award? Not an easy question.

The guidelines used for some the awards I am involved in include:
1. “Took a risk, made a difference; encouragement in mid-career ”
2. “Distinguished contribution to the field of …”
3. “Outstanding and distinguished lifetime achievement in and contribution to the field of …”
4. “Very significant lifetime achievement in and contribution to the field of …”
5. “Extraordinary and long-term contribution to the … organisation”

They all imply something more than just “doing your job” but how much more?

Another question: in many cases we look to a recipient as a role model, for the young to emulate. What if you have someone who makes a truly outstanding contribution, recognised by everyone, but cheats on the tax? Or perhaps molests little girls? Where do you draw that line?

Let me know if you find some easy answers. I don’t know any.