Clarivate Plc, a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, has released an in-depth look at a formal regional research assessment, co-authored by the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate, together with esteemed industry partners: Kate Williams, University of Melbourne; Jonathan Grant, Different Angles; Lutz Bornmann, Max Planck Institute and Martin Szomszor, Electric Data Solutions.
Research assessment: Origins, evolution, outcomes examines the origins of research assessment, and how it works in different regions via the approaches of Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. It also considers the future of research assessment exercises and examines the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replace traditional peer review.
Despite the differences in their approaches to research assessment, variation in their links to funding incentives, and disparity in timing between similar systems, all the regions examined improved in comparative research performance, as measured by bibliometric performance. There is, however, no clear universal verdict on whether research assessment is a necessary or facilitating agent.
The Global Research Report, “Research assessment: Origins, evolution, outcomes” finds that: Australia has a comprehensive research assessment, seeking to measure both academic impact and wider societal benefit. Australian methodology distinguishes engagement from impact, in contrast to other research impact evaluations throughout the world such as the United Kingdom’s REF, but it does not influence direct research funding and may be unconnected to citation-indexed research performance. The report notes that Canada has a long history and culture of integrating knowledge mobilization and evaluation across the research life cycle and focuses on “knowledge mobilization” in specific research areas rather than assessing general research outcomes. Germany has promoted its research status using the ‘Excellence Initiative’ block funding to research organizations without regular nationwide evaluations, says the report.
While Hong Kong’s research assessment system is similar to the U.K. model, it draws on a distinctive conception of scholarship and on socio-economic benefit as well as excellence. ; The introduction of New Zealand’s Performance-Based Research Fund can be associated with a marked improvement in its internationally comparative research performance. Further, according to the report ; and the United Kingdom set the first model for regular research assessment, which has had pervasive effects on institutional management and on researcher behavior.
There have always been demands for technical solutions to reduce perceived assessment bureaucracy and the report acknowledges that Artificial Intelligence has a profound impact on research but machine learning solutions to assessment burdens may propagate existing biases. Models of assessment outcomes reveal that apparently important predictors may link to factors unrelated to research impact.Click here to read the original press release.