Ulf Sandström, guest researcher at Örebro University and researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology KTH Stockholm, Sweden
Speech at the conference Technologies Transforming Research Assessment on March 19th, 2014 in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The use of performance indicators are based on assumption about scientists’ behaviour at the publishing market. Researchers are assumed to seek rewards and therefore they should strive for publishing of their work in as prestigious journals as possible. Studies show that this is not the case (Gordon, 1984; Luukkonen, 1992; Derrick & Bryant, 2013). A large part of the research population is pleased with good enough and they are content if they are able to communicate their research to the audience who are in the local or regional vicinity, e.g. to satisfy funders, university administrator, external organizations or alike.
Researchers who aspire to publish in local or regional publishing channels can simultaneously have a number of strong reasons for their activities, including that the research finds funding and that there are pronounced needs for the knowledge produced. Strong incentives for so-called prestigious publications will be perceived negatively by those researchers as incentives will be interpreted as contrary to the particular research niche they themselves represent. This leads to crowding out of research and the effects are likely to be anything but what was sought from the administration. It is highly probable that in the end, as Bogh Anderson & Pallesen (2008) has shown, a declining publishing frequency will be the overall result of such incentives.
Incentives based on journal impact or any prestige factor is, therefore, not a viable alternative for a university that are in need of betterment both in production of papers and quality of papers. In the presentation we will introduce a method for rewarding papers in all areas of science. The reward structure will be based on field adjusted production and percentiles of citations.
Professor Ulf Sandström is currently guest researcher at Örebro University and researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology KTH Stockholm, Sweden. His research has mainly focused on science policy studies, with a special interest for financing of research and bibliometric analysis. Among the works on research policy are the report His Excellency (2010) , the books Research Governance and Funding Policy (1997) , Research Policy Insight (1999) and the edited book Values of the University ( 2000) , The New Research Landscape (2002) and Interdisciplinarity ‑ An Analysis (2005).