Principles for the evaluation of research

Researchers are confronted with evaluations at many times during their career.

The framework for such evaluations will generally be guided by discipline-specific criteria for identifying excellence, as well as by policy incentives designed to steer specific behaviour or to reward particular performance. The process and method of evaluation must be of high quality, whether they are bibliometrics based or peer review based or a mix of these. The methods and standards being applied must be carefully chosen in concordance with the purpose of the evaluation, covering a wide range from individual researcher development to institutional strategy decisions.

Ghent University’s Board of Governors has agreed on eight principles that must guide every evaluation of research:

  1. The choice of an appropriate evaluation method for research is in line with the objective of the evaluation.
  2. The evaluation takes into account the intended impact of the research; strictly academic, economic, societal, or a combination of these.
  3. The evaluation takes into account the diversity between disciplines.
  4. For each chosen evaluation method, the simplicity of the procedure is weighed up against the complexity of the research.
  5. The evaluation criteria are drawn up and communicated to all stakeholders in advance.
  6. There are sufficient experts on the evaluation committee who are in a position to adequately assess the quality of the research.
  7. The above principles are implemented by means of a smart choice of evaluation indicators and by adopting a holistic approach to peer review.
  8. Any committee or policy measure evaluating research, makes a best effort commitment to translate the above principles into practice.

The full context and implications of these principles is available for download.

In the course of 2017, the above principles will be primarily implemented in concrete guidelines for the recruitment and promotion of academic staff and for the evaluation of research proposals funded by the University’s Special Research Fund.