Demands and expectations in the scientific evaluation system

Last January, Nicolás Robinson-García, the principal investigator of this project, published a paper in collaboration with colleagues Rodrigo Costas (Leiden University), Gabriela Nane (Delft University of Technology) and Thed van Leeuwen (Leiden University) titled «Valuation regimes in academia: researchers’ attitudes towards their diversity of activities and academic performance».

The abstract reads:

Evaluation systems have been long criticized for abusing and misusing bibliometric indicators. This has created a culture by which academics are constantly exposing their daily work to the standards they are expected to perform. In this study, we investigate whether researchers’ own values and expectations are in line with the expectations of the evaluation system. We conduct a multiple case study of five departments in two Dutch universities to examine how they balance between their own valuation regimes and the evaluation schemes. For this, we combine curriculum analysis with a series of semi-structured interviews. We propose a model to study the diversity of academic activities and apply it to the multiple case study to understand how such diversity is shaped by discipline and career stage. We conclude that the observed misalignment is not only resulting from an abuse of metrics but also by a lack of tools to evaluate performance in a contextualized and adaptable way.

The valuation model of academic activities developed by the authors considered five evaluative dimensions: scientific engagement, social engagement, trajectory, capacity building and level of openness. Personal features, such as gender, nationality, ethnicity and age, as well as external factors, divided into (supra)national, institutional and departmental levels, were also taken into account. An overview of the proposed model for studying individuals’ profiles based on their diversity of academic activities can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Find the full article in the renowned journal Research Evaluation by Oxford University Press and cite as:

Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Rodrigo Costas, Gabriela F Nane, Thed N van Leeuwen, Valuation regimes in academia: Researchers’ attitudes towards their diversity of activities and academic performance, Research Evaluation, 2023;, rvac049,