Library Element Journal and Magazine

The future of research assessment

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 23 January 2018

The future of research assessment - collection of articles edited by James Wilsdon. Palgrave Communications

Scope: Across research systems worldwide, policymakers, universities, funders and publishers are grappling with how to measure and assess the qualities and impacts of research. Since the mid-1980s, there has been a steady escalation in the quantity, reach and sophistication of research assessment.

Several triggers lie behind this: pressure from governments for tighter audit and evaluation of public investment in research; demand by policymakers for more strategic intelligence on impacts and future priorities; the need for universities and other institutions to manage and develop their research portfolios; competition within and between institutions for prestige, students, staff and resources; increases in the availability of real-time ‘big data’ on research uptake; and the capacity of indicators, metrics and other tools for data analysis.

Architects and advocates of assessment point to accompanying increases in research productivity and quality. But the relationship to outcomes is intensely debated, and critics argue that the burdens of audit and assessment systems, and the pressures and incentives they create, are having corrosive effects on research cultures, qualities and values.

Thirty years after the UK’s first research assessment exercise took place in 1986, this rolling article collection will explore recent developments and debates in the UK and internationally, offering varied perspectives on the future of research assessment.

Interested in contributing a paper for this collection? Read our call for papers.

Editor: Professor James Wilsdon (Professor of Research Policy, Department of Politics and Director of Impact and Engagement, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK).



The future of the impact agenda depends on the revaluation of academic freedom
J. Britt Holbrook

Epistemic responsibility as an edifying force in academic research: investigating the moral challenges and opportunities of an impact agenda in the UK and Australia
Jennifer Chubb  &  Mark Reed

Measuring impact in the humanities: Learning from accountability and economics in a contemporary history of cultural value
Zoe Bulaitis

Unique, but still best practice? The Research Excellence Framework (REF) from an international perspective
Gunnar Sivertsen

The future of societal impact assessment using peer review: pre-evaluation training, consensus building and inter-reviewer reliability
Gemma Derrick  &  Gabrielle Samuel

Evaluating policy-relevant research: lessons from a series of theory-based outcomes assessments
Brian Belcher, Daniel Suryadarma  &  Aidy Halimanjaya

The future of research assessment in the humanities: bottom-up assessment procedures
Michael Ochsner, Sven Hug  &  Ioana Galleron

The impact agenda and the search for a good life
Robert Frodeman

“Excellence R Us”: university research and the fetishisation of excellence
Samuel Moore, Cameron Neylon[…]  &  Damian Pattinson

Exploring the effectiveness, efficiency and equity (3e’s) of research and research impact assessment
Saba Hinrichs-Krapels  &  Jonathan Grant

The changing role of metrics in research institute evaluations undertaken by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Fang Xu  &  Xiaoxuan Li

Assessing (for) impact: future assessment of the societal impact of research
Steven Hill

Altmetrics: diversifying the understanding of influential scholarship
Stacy Konkiel


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