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Evaluation as a travelling idea: Assessing the consequences of Research Assessment Exercises
KTH, School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science (ECE), Learning.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7437-2152
2017 (English)In: Research Evaluation, ISSN 0958-2029, E-ISSN 1471-5449, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 55-65Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research evaluation is widespread in academia, and may result in changes in publication patterns, management structures, and work practices. This study explores a relatively recent phenomenon where university leaders initiate research evaluation projects for internal strategic purposes. Two projects undertaken by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, in 2008 and 2012 are taken as cases in point. The study builds on interviews, documents, and statistics. In conclusion, the study finds that the early consequences of the two evaluations relate less to research output, and more to the management of research. The bibliometric data do not indicate a measurable impact on publication patterns. Rather, the evaluations have contributed towards an increased focus on leadership, communication, and good administrative order. A tendency towards game playing is apparent, but so is a revitalized intra-academic discourse on research quality. Further, the study finds variation in how the research evaluations have impacted on different research groups. Importantly, the impact is greatest on those groups that have been identified as least successful according to the specific evaluation criteria. Such groups can undergo major change in response to evaluation results. It is concluded that evaluation exercises carry a strong normative component which can be used for central management purposes to strive for more cultural coherence within the university. In theoretical terms, research evaluation is interpreted as a travelling idea, to which there is substantial pressure to conform but which may also stimulate a critical debate on research quality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS , 2017. Vol. 26, no 2, p. 55-65
Keywords [en]
evaluation, research assessment exercise, publication patterns, research management, travelling ideas
National Category
Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-211417DOI: 10.1093/reseval/rvx001ISI: 000405418600001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85020255774OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-211417DiVA, id: diva2:1129381
Note

QC 20170802

Available from: 2017-08-02 Created: 2017-08-02 Last updated: 2017-08-02Bibliographically approved

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Karlsson, Sara

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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  • de-DE
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Output format
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