Speakers include: Frank Baaijens, Stephen Curry, Martin Dominik, Kostas Glinos, Ellen Hazelkorn, Sabine Kleinert, Antonio Loprieno, Bernard Rentier, April Tash, Koen Vermeir, Bonnie Wolf-Boenisch
This symposium addresses two questions that are central to the conduct of scholarly work: Why do we evaluate output of publicly funded research, and how do we make the evaluation match its purpose?
An exponential increase in research output during the past few decades and increased competition among scholars for limited resources favoured the adoption of metrics to assess scientific merit and to determine the success of an academic career. Widely accepted quantitative indicators such as journal impact factor, citation index of journal publications or institutional rankings thus became primary indicators for the quality of scholarly work. Yet, these metrics are not fit for purpose because they create incentives that are detrimental to the intention of fostering the research endeavour, promoting progress in scholarly work, and benefitting society. Despite intentions to revert this situation, many juries still evaluate researchers on the basis of their accumulated journal impact factor, and university rankings continue to enjoy high prominence.
While different science and policy stakeholders continue to strive for a better balance between quantitative and qualitative research assessments by introducing novel criteria and developing new methods, this symposium takes a broader perspective by discussing more fundamental issues, such as: the future direction of research, reconciling the values in research with incentives and rewards, the relevance of excellence in research, the contribution of research assessments to better scholarly work. Ultimately, it is about the role and responsibility of research towards society and a new contract between research and society.