Research assessment in the humanities: problems and challenges

Galimberti Paola, Research assessment in the humanities: problems and challenges., 2010 . In 9th European Evaluation Society International Conference, Prague (Czech Republic), 6-8 October 2010. (Unpublished) [Conference paper]

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English abstract

Research assessment is going to play a new role in the governance of universities and research institutions. Evaluation of results is evolving from a simple tool for resource allocation towards policy design. In this respect "measuring" implies a different approach to quantitative aspects as well as to an estimation of qualitative criteria that are difficult to define. Bibliometrics became so popular, in spite of its limits, just offering a simple solution to complex problems. The theory behind it is not so robust but available results confirm this method as a reasonable trade off between costs and benefits. Indeed there are some fields of science where quantitative indicators are very difficult to apply due to the lack of databases and data, in few words the credibility of existing information. Humanities and social sciences (HSS) need a coherent methodology to assess research outputs but current projects are not very convincing. The possibility of creating a shared ranking of journals by the value of their contents at either institutional, national or European level is not enough as it is raising the same bias as in the hard sciences and it does not solve the problem of the various types of outputs and the different, much longer time of creation and dissemination. The web (and web 2.0) represents a revolution in the communication of research results mainly in the HSS, and also their evaluation has to take into account this change. Furthermore, the increase of open access initiatives (green and gold road) offers a large quantity of transparent, verifiable data structured according to international standards that allow comparability beyond national limits and above all is independent from commercial agents. The pilot scheme carried out at the university of Milan for the Faculty of Humanities demonstrated that it is possible to build quantitative, on average more robust indicators, that could provide a proxy of research production and productiivity even in the HSS.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: research assessment, humanities and social sciences (HSS), open access, University of Milan
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BA. Use and impact of information.
Depositing user: P. Galimberti
Date deposited: 26 Dec 2010
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:18


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