© Ghent University, Christophe Vandereecken
ENLIGHT aims to foster a dialogue with all the stakeholders involved – policy makers, HR and research support staff, evaluators, researchers – about the evaluation of research and researchers.
Debate about the assessment of research and researchers
Assessments are crucial for the functioning of the research system. Research and researchers are evaluated for various reasons and at various moments in a researcher's career: at the moment of recruitment and promotion of academics, the selection of research proposals for funding, the evaluation of a research group, faculty or university, etc. It is therefore necessary for the research community to understand and carefully consider how assessments are organised.
A survey organised by the European University Association (2019) shows that most universities heavily rely on (journal) publications (followed by attracting external competitive project funding) when evaluating researchers. However, during the last decade, the disadvantages and risks of indicator-driven evaluation systems that mainly reward a limited number of academic or scholarly activities have become clear. Several initiatives, such as the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment, advocate for change.
The envisioned changes are threefold: (1) explore new evaluation methods (with a focus on peer review and abandoning the inappropriate use of quantitative indicators), (2) widen the scope of what is evaluated (include a broad range of outputs, outcomes and activities) and (3) assess more diverse aspects of a career in research (include teaching, leadership etc.).
Policy makers, HR and research support staff and researchers involved in the design and implementation of assessment systems are invited to participate in the debate about the evaluation of research(ers) through a series of workshops and activities.
- Background document The evaluation of research and researchers. Current trends and developments (August 2022)
- Workshop “The evaluation of research and researchers” (27 September 2022)
Research Assessment Working Group
The workshops and activities are coordinated by the ENLIGHT-RISE Research Assessment Working Group (RAWG). Not only are several ENLIGHT partners considering (or already implementing) changes in their assessment systems, the European Council also sees the European Universities as testbeds for innovative academic career assessment and rewarding systems. That is why the RAWG aims to be a platform to discuss the current trends and developments in assessment and to explore the (potential) implications of a systemic change for each of the partner universities as well as for the consortium.