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Introducing and testing an advanced quantitative methodological approach for the evaluation of research centers: a case study on sustainability science


Kassab, Omar; Mutz, Rüdiger; Daniel, Hans-Dieter (2019). Introducing and testing an advanced quantitative methodological approach for the evaluation of research centers: a case study on sustainability science. Research Evaluation:rvz029.

Abstract

With the growing complexity of societal and scientific problems, research centers have emerged to facilitate the conduct of research beyond disciplinary and institutional boundaries. While they have become firmly established in the global university landscape, research centers raise some critical questions for research evaluation. Existing evaluation approaches designed to assess universities, departments, projects, or individual researchers fail to capture some of the core characteristics of research centers and their participants, including the diversity of the involved researchers, at what point in time they join and leave the research center, or the intensity of their participation. In addressing these aspects, this article introduces an advanced approach for the ex post evaluation of research centers. It builds on a quasi-experimental within-group design, bibliometric analyses, and multilevel statistics to assess average and individual causal effects of research center affiliation on participants along three dimensions of research performance. The evaluation approach is tested with archival data from a center in the field of sustainability science. Against a widely held belief, we find that participation in research centers entails no disadvantages for researchers as far as their research performance is concerned. However, individual trajectories varied strongly.

Abstract

With the growing complexity of societal and scientific problems, research centers have emerged to facilitate the conduct of research beyond disciplinary and institutional boundaries. While they have become firmly established in the global university landscape, research centers raise some critical questions for research evaluation. Existing evaluation approaches designed to assess universities, departments, projects, or individual researchers fail to capture some of the core characteristics of research centers and their participants, including the diversity of the involved researchers, at what point in time they join and leave the research center, or the intensity of their participation. In addressing these aspects, this article introduces an advanced approach for the ex post evaluation of research centers. It builds on a quasi-experimental within-group design, bibliometric analyses, and multilevel statistics to assess average and individual causal effects of research center affiliation on participants along three dimensions of research performance. The evaluation approach is tested with archival data from a center in the field of sustainability science. Against a widely held belief, we find that participation in research centers entails no disadvantages for researchers as far as their research performance is concerned. However, individual trajectories varied strongly.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Education, Library and Information Sciences
Language:English
Date:28 November 2019
Deposited On:18 Dec 2019 09:45
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:27
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0958-2029
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvz029

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