Accepted Paper:

Exploring the effects of quantifying scientific excellence in a small scientific community  


Toni Pustovrh (University of Ljubljana)
Anuska Ferligoj (University of Ljubljana)

Paper short abstract:

In Slovenia, quantitative indicators are increasingly used to evaluate scientific excellence. We use bibliometric analysis and interviews with excellent scientists to explore the effects such a trend is having on the research performance and practices in the small Slovenian scientific community.

Paper long abstract:

The evaluation of scientific performance in contemporary science systems is increasingly relying on quantitative indicators of excellence, determined by national science policies. We explore the conceptualization and the effects of quantitative measures of research excellence on the small scientific community in Slovenia. For this purpose, we combine the results of a bibliometric analysis with the results of interviews among excellent Slovenian scientists.

Our aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of such excellence policies as well as of the factors that influence their results.

In our quantitative analysis, we focus on research excellence as defined in the research evaluation methodology of the Slovenian Research Agency, and explore its effects on the performance of Slovenian scientists in different scientific fields. We also investigate how science policy mechanisms, such as competitive funding and research collaboration affect the quantitative indicators of excellence. Here a multilevel analysis using a hierarchical linear model with regression analysis is applied to the data with several nested levels. In the qualitative part, we present the results of the interviews with excellent scientists. We focus on their views of what makes up scientific excellence, which policy factors are important for promoting it, and whether they consider quantitative indicators as a proper instrument for promoting excellent science.

Thus we hope to provide a more comprehensive view of the quantification of excellence in Slovenia and internationally, its effects on research performance, what role competitive funding and collaboration play in it, and how scientists themselves perceive its effects.

Panel T020
Governing Excellent Science