Accepted Paper:

Re-imagining excellence for research policy indicators  

Authors:

Federico Ferretti (Joint Research Centre)
Ângela Guimarães Pereira (European Commission )
Sjoerd Hardeman

Paper short abstract:

We try to assess the co-production and promotion of research indicators at the science-policy interface, with particular focus on the Research Excellence in Science & Technology indicator developed by the European Commission. We offer ways to re-imagine such indicators from a STS perspective.

Paper long abstract:

In the advent of the evidence-based society, indicators are increasingly called upon to inform policymakers, not least in the domain of research and innovation policymaking (Barre, 2010).

Few studies, however, have scrutinized how such indicators come about in practice, leaving much of the back-stage work on indicators-for-policy invisible (Nowotny, 2007). The aim of this paper is to assess the co-production of research indicators at the science-policy interface and to make visible the processes through which research indicators are produced, promoted, and used by research policymakers.

We particularly focus on the Research Excellence in Science & Technology (RES& T) indicator offered and used by the European Commission. We have been actively involved in the design and construction of this indicator (Hardeman et al., 2013) and, hence, are in a unique position to critically engage in assessing its co-production process. In so doing, our goal is to come up with ways for re-imagining the measurement of research excellence for policy purposes.

Reviewing the literature (Sorensen et al., 2015), we outline the tensions inherent to the disputes on defining and measuring research excellence for policy purposes.

Second, using both our own reflections on the construction of the RES& T indicator and interviews with relevant EU policymakers, national policymakers, and other stakeholders, we assess how and to what extent the RES& T indicator has been respectively produced and used in practice. Finally, we identify gaps in the current RES& T indicator as well as opportunities for measuring research excellence to inform research policies.

Panel T020
Governing Excellent Science