A relevant question for the organization of large-scale research assessments is whether bibliometric evaluation and informed peer review yield similar results. In this paper, we draw on the experience of the panel that evaluated Italian research in Economics, Management and Statistics during the national assessment exercise (VQR) relative to the period 2004-2010. We exploit the unique opportunity of studying a sample of 590 journal articles randomly drawn from a population of 5681 journal articles (out of nearly 12,000 journal and non-journal publications), which the panel evaluated both by bibliometric analysis and by informed peer review. In the total sample we find fair to good agreement between informed peer review and bibliometric analysis and absence of statistical bias between the two. We then discuss the nature, implications, and limitations of this correlation. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The aim of this paper is to understand whether the probability of receiving positive peer reviews is influenced by having published in an independently assessed, high-ranking journal: we eventually interpret a positive relationship among peer evaluation and journal ranking as evidence that journal ratings are good predictors of article quality. The analysis is based on a large dataset of over 11,500 research articles published in Italy in the period 2004-2010 in the areas of architecture, arts and humanities, history and philosophy, law, sociology and political sciences. These articles received a score by a large number of externally appointed referees in the context of the Italian research assessment exercise (VQR); similarly, journal scores were assigned in a panel-based independent assessment, which involved all academic journals in which Italian scholars have published, carried out under a different procedure. The score of an article is compared with that of the journal it is published in: more specifically, we first estimate an ordered probit model, assessing the probability for a paper of receiving a higher score, the higher the score of the journal; in a second step, we concentrate on the top papers, evaluating the probability of a paper receiving an excellent score having been published in a top-rated journal. In doing so, we control for a number of characteristics of the paper and its author, including the language of publication, the scientific field and its size, the age of the author and the academic status. We add to the literature on journal classification by providing for the first time a large scale test of the robustness of expert-based classification.
Bonaccorsi A, Secondi L, Ancaiani A and Setteducati E
2011 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (Iceri)
, : 1566-1576
EXPLORING THE ROLE OF THIRD-PARTY RESEARCH IN ITALIAN UNIVERSITIES
In the last years several changes have occurred in the university research environment concerning both the funding method and the evaluation of research performance. On one hand, universities have significantly increased the recruitment of research funds from external sources - in addition to the basic research mainly funded by government and institutions' core budget - thus realizing a basis for the interaction between science and industry and for the creation of social and economic returns. On the other hand, the modification in the research funding system lead to consider indicators based on financial data in addition to the classical indicators for evaluating the research performance. However, the use of funding data - including third-party amount of funding - as suitable indicators to describe research performance of university departments and therefore for evaluating the scientific capacity of a university is still a debated issue due to the differences among fields of study and the non-profit nature of universities. In Italy, the newly established National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes is called to define performance indicators, concerning both the education process and the research activities, to be used for distributing funds to the universities on the basis of their performance. In this context, the increasing attitude of universities to collaborate with external partners and therefore the activation of the wider process of knowledge transfer are two major aspects to carefully and properly consider in the framework of research activities evaluation. This study has a twofold aim. Firstly, after a brief analysis of the evolution of funding sources of research activities in Italy, we will aim to shed light on the definition, the importance and the extent of third party funding in the Italian system of research funding. Secondly, by applying suitable statistical models we will empirically investigate the factors that characterize the departments making research on behalf of third parties as well as the significant features in raising research funding from external sources. The analysis include all Italian university departments and it will be based on a unique data set obtained by combining different sources of data - collected early by the Italian Ministry of Education University and Research - which include information concerning both the structure, also in terms of academic staff, the field of study of the department and the economic context in which each institution operates. Although discussion in the paper focuses on the evaluation process and the use of results obtained as a basis for the definition of a global research evaluation framework, the analysis carried out can also represent an important tool for each university institution regarding the internal processes of decision making and monitoring.
Over the last few years, the emergence of universities' third mission has significantly affected objectives, sources of funding and financing methods, as well as the management, of universities. Although the university-industry relationships have been widely investigated, several interesting theoretical and empirical issues still remain open in the literature. In this paper we construct an original data set, combining financial information with structural and organizational data on Italian University departments, with a twofold aim. First, to describe the importance and the extent of third-party funding in the Italian system of research as well as the pattern of evolution over the last few years. Second, to investigate the factors that influence both the probability and the intensity of the commitment of departments in third-party activities by building a multi-level framework combining factors at individual, departmental, university and territorial levels. The results obtained suggest a number of policy implications for universities and policy makers. On one hand, universities should explicitly recognize the role of dedicated internal organizations and provide training for professional staff capable of acting as value-added intermediaries. On the other hand, if policy makers wish to improve the relationships between universities and external actors, disciplinary differences across departments as well as regional inequalities in growth levels should be carefully considered, giving up a one-size-fits-all approach.
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