In discussing the judging of student papers at the Kansas academy of science conference it was again obvious to me that quality can not be reduced down to a single scalar value. Scientific papers must be judged in a 3 or 4 dimensional space. One dimension involves the quality of the data taken or the experiment performed. A second scale involves the quality of the analysis or theoretical work done.
A third dimension would measure how creative or original the work is. A possible fourth scale might measure the amount or volume of work done. If a given paper is best in all of these measures it can be ranked as best overall. But otherwise there is no "best."