Category: research evaluation

Towards more consistent, transparent, and multi-purpose national bibliographic databases for research output

National bibliographic databases for research output collect metadata on universities’ scholarly publications, such as journal articles, monographs, and conference papers. As this sort of research information is increasingly used in assessments, funding allocation, and other academic reward structures, the value in developing comprehensive and reliable national databases becomes more and more clear. Linda Sīle, Raf Guns and Tim Engels outline […]

Could it all be much ado about nothing? A tragicomic perspective on research impact

The contemporary drive to understand exactly how academic research has had an impact on society represents a major undertaking, with significant resources being expended. However, researchers acknowledge there may be occasions where no amount of time, effort, or funds will identify the impact arising from certain research. Given the considerable effort that has been dedicated to research assessment processes, and […]

Developing approaches to research impact assessment and evaluation: lessons from a Canadian health research funder

Assessing research impact is complex and challenging, but essential for understanding the link between research funding investments and outcomes both within and beyond academia. Julia Langton provides an overview of how a Canadian health research funder approaches impact assessment; urging caution in the use of quantitative data, highlighting the importance of organisation-wide capacity-building, and outlining the value of a community […]

Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

The “gold standard” of impactful international development research involves equitable north-south partnership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and co-production with non-academic actors, ideally including local communities. Such participatory and collaborative approaches are intended to have longer-term benefits, strengthening capacity for research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Admirable though this may sound, it’s easy to see how it might appear overwhelming to researchers expected to […]

Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

In the second and final part of a series considering the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out why seeking advancement internally might be a more attractive option, again highlighting seven specific reasons. The series concludes with some more general tips for promotion applications, including how to harness your experience submitting to academic journals. The […]

Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Climbing the academic career ladder can be a slow, frustrating, and opaque process. Some academics may be unsure whether to seek promotion within their own institutions or to look to another university for advancement opportunities. In the first of a two-part series, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions. This first instalment outlines seven […]

Better, fairer, more meaningful research evaluation – in seven hashtags

Considering the future of research assessment, Elizabeth Gadd outlines how she believes research evaluation could be made better, fairer, and more meaningful. The resulting seven guiding principles, neatly framed as hashtags, range from understanding our responsibilities to researchers as people, through to ensuring our evaluations are a more formative process, offering valuable, constructive feedback. Imperial College recently held an event […]

Developing a “responsible assessment” system to improve research impact: a case study from Catalonia

Many lessons can be drawn from the burgeoning discourse on research impact assessment. Paula Adam, Maite Solans-Domènech, Núria Radó-Trilla, Toni Dedeu and Albert Barberà explain how they have applied these to the design of a health research assessment system in Catalonia, one that helps to embed impact from the early stages of a research programme. Emphasising the importance of values, […]

There is an absence of scientific authority over research assessment as a professional practice, leaving a gap that has been filled by database providers

Research metrics have become more established as a means to assess research performance. This is understandable given research institutions’ and funders’ demand for assessment techniques that are relatively cheap and universally applicable, even though use of such metrics remains strongly contested within scientific communities. But to what extent does the academic research field of evaluative citation analysis confer legitimacy to […]

Playing the game: academics have bought into the competition and become complicit in their exploitation

The managerialist logic that has permeated universities has had a clear impact on academic work. To Senia Kalfa, Adrian Wilkinson and Paul J. Gollan, academia has become like a game, with academics competing with each other for just a handful of permanent positions and focused completely on accumulating the capital (publications, grant income, etc.) needed to secure one. Rather than […]