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Evaluation of research systems

Wednesday 6 April 2005
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Evaluation of Research Systems

Rigas Arvanitis and Roland Waast

ESTIME Coordinating team

The best promotion of research relies on enhancing quality

-  Morocco has multiplied its scientific production by four in 10 years....
-  Many South American countries have improved the efficiency of their research....
-  In all cases, research has been evaluated at the national level and quality has been enhanced.

Example: Morocco

Tools for the evaluation:
-  Bibliometrics : general and detailed
-  Surveys by questionnaires
-  Field work
-  Evaluation by foreign experts

Evaluation is a process...

-  Phase 1 :Preparation : bibliometrics / Information gathering / budgets, personnel, higher education
-  Phase 2: Preliminary analysis : specific topics/fieldwork/questionnaires
-  Phase 3: Expert selection
-  Phase 4: Expert evaluation
-  Phase 5: Restitution at local and national level

...that needs independent and professional advice

Evaluation needs some basic conditions to be fulfilled

Expected outputs -1

-  A quasi exhaustive review of the research system at the national and regional level
— By disciplines
— By institutions/at the level of departments and laboratories
— By geographical location

Expected outputs -2

-  A description of institutional capabilities
— Infrastructures
— Budgets and funding
— Size and organization
— International collaborations
— Capabilities to produce and circulate knowledge
— Capabilities for use of research

Expected outputs -3

-  A quality assessment by scientific experts
— Internationally recognized experts
— National experts as associates
— Experts with a view on uses of research
— With no previous linkages with the national teams
— Accepted by University authorities and research heads
— Assessment made by on site visits to labs

Expected outputs -4

-  A wide discussion of the quality assessment by scientific experts and other results
— As open as possible
— Including as many experts as possible
— With no previous linkages with the national teams
— Assessment made by on site visits to labs and meetings

Benefits for research

-  The quality of the evaluation will reveal strong points and shortcomings
-  The implication of all parts of the research system will permit to reveal ways to enhance research
-  The large discussions will validate results and suggest actions

Benefits for further action

-  The policy process will benefit from first class information, socially accepted
-  Accepted national programmes
-  A certification process for high achieving labs and teams
-  An accepted identification of priority actions

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