Tune in to learn the current challenges facing research evaluators and to discover best practices and new tools for measuring real-world outcomes of research.
Research evaluation has taken a new direction in recent years. There’s been a shift in focus from research quality to research delivery, and this has brought new challenges for all stakeholders involved in the research process – from large organizations to individual academics.
In the final episode of our Future of Research podcast, we speak with Dr. Martin Szomszor, Director of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)™, and Josh Schnell, Consultancy Director. They discuss the current landscape of research evaluation, best practices, as well as new indicators and predictive methodologies on the horizon.
“A big challenge is how to conceptualise and categorize research impact because there are so many different ways to think about the benefits”
Dr. Szomszor and Josh Schnell explain why research evaluation and the way it’s conducted varies enormously amongst institutions and organizations. They speak to the fact that the traditional, one-dimensional approach to judging performance fails to recognize the wider contributions of researchers, such as their teaching activity, their mentoring ability, their peer review and editorial contributions, and their industrial and community engagement.
“A successful research ecosystem is not one that is optimized only for a certain characteristic, such as citation impact.”
The challenges of a more holistic approach, however, are that it’s harder to implement, it costs more and it can increase the burden on researchers and organizations. It can also be difficult to demonstrate real-world impact when research outcomes can take several years to come to fruition. With that in mind, Dr. Szomszor and Josh Schnell discuss the importance of setting up goals up front, and the valuable information that can be extracted from the Web of Science™ citation network with technology like Research Fronts™.
“Consider the analogy of a map. The citation impact is just telling us the elevation, like the contour line on the map. What’s much more interesting is to understand the overall landscape and how it’s changing. Is certain research is taking us in a new direction, bridging a gap to a completely siloed region of the research landscape or forging its way into some unknown territory?”