N° 7 November 2019
Welcome to the seventh ENRESSH newsletter!
Our Work Groups meeting in Valencia has shown that ENRESSH is progressing full steam towards the final results. We use this final grant period for completing the action goals allowing us to better demonstrate the true place of SSH in academia and society. We are going to organize our final meeting in February 17-18, 2020 in Paris.
Unfortunately, in July 2019 we lost one of ENRESSH outstanding scholars, Prof. Judit Bar-Ilan. Judit was a leading professor at the Department of Information Science of Bar-Ilan University in Israel, having chaired the department from 2008-2012. Recently, she was the academic head of MALMAD, the Israeli Inter-University Center for Digital Information Services. She will be sorely missed, but remembered with much fondness. On the ENRESSH website, we published testimonials.
Wishing you a pleasant reading,
Chair of ENRESSH
All my professional life revolves around two words: teaching and tourism. My first job (and still my main one) is to be a Professor at University of Tirana, Faculty of Economy, Department of Tourism and Marketing. As of recently, I am also the CEO/Executive Director of Institute for Sustainable Development, Environment and Tourism in Albania (InSET).
My research and working area include: sustainable tourism management, entrepreneurial marketing. My target is currently more widely, starting from international groups, projects and universities to national and local actors, to youth women or even students.
I am proud that through InSET, I managed to organize the first international event of UNWTO in Albania, focusing in building the partnership within public and private institutions in Albania, cited as one of the 5 pillars from UNWTO. In this event, ideas and insights were shared from so more than 30 professionals, and businessmen and women, in Albania.
As part of COST Action “European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities”, I am engaged in WG (1): Conceptual frameworks for SSH research evaluation.
My main motivation to join and collaborate with European researchers in this action is related to the social dimensions of sustainable tourism. Since recently, most of my research and work is related mainly to Sustainable Tourism. Moreover, what is widely discussed in international round tables, meeting and forums, and on what researchers are working on, is exactly the social dimension of sustainable tourism: measuring and evaluating how communities and all other national and local actors, are benefiting from using their alternative resources in a sustainable way. Secondly, tourism is considering more than an economic sector; it is also regarded as a social and human science exactly due to the large impact it has on community, youth, local business, etc.
So, these are just few reasons why I consider an honor to be part of a European researcher’s network in evaluation studies, policy makers and members of evaluation units, as well as researchers from SSH disciplines to contribute in achieving sustainable practices within our countries.
Policy, evaluation criteria and open science
After three years of working together on conceptual issues of research evaluation, it was time at the Valencia ENRESSH meeting to start summarising and combining the different strands of our work. In this newsletter we will present some preliminary results of relevance for science policy: policy developments, evaluation criteria and Open Science.
ENRESSH has collected information on the impact of research policies on SSH research in different countries to identify policy areas where action is most needed. Not all countries face the same challenges. Four challenges were identified: a) risk of transfer of research money from SSH to STEM; b) secured budget but need to prove societal impact c) increase of students but same budget, which means cuts for research; d) risk of prohibition or at least de-valuing of some subjects or disciplines not seen as adequate for the society.
Further, a discussion on evaluation criteria revealed that criteria should be explicitly linked to values: SSH researchers should be more aware of the value (not necessarily impact) of their work. For example, culture is a central value of society that lies at the core of the SSH. This should be approached from two sides:
- a) evaluators and policy makers should apply criteria for evaluations and calls that reflect the inherent values of SSH research (bottom-up): an evaluation or a call should start with looking at what SSH researchers produce and why as well as at what scholars perceive as high quality. This could bring to the fore more clearly the value SSH research provides to the society.
- b) SSH scholars on their part should relate their work to broader values in other fields (STEM) and society (outside-in). They should respond to public calls regarding “hot topics” and relate their research to those topics (in contrast to just adopting them). In evaluations, they should accept criteria from a broad range of stakeholders, going beyond policy makers, the economy and the broader public/taxpayer but also including funding agencies, cultural institutions, media and cultural production, the education system, and the STEM community as they are all potential users or addressees of SSH research.
Open Science is an important policy concept that presents particular challenges and opportunities to SSH research. Open access and open data as more concrete derivates of the concept are often seen to be crucial instruments for a closer relationship and shorter communication processes between different stakeholders. However, the discussion about open science is dominated by STEM discourses. It is time that the SSH take a clear position and make visible that there is a very long SSH tradition regarding some key terms of the Open Science movement: Museums are a form of giving the public access to privately owned cultural items, book reviews are an old and efficient form of open peer review, reports and feuilletons are available to the public, and social and economic indicators are openly available data since UN’s foundation. Instead of taking a defensive stance, a proactive position would help the SSH gain the much-deserved visibility.
Year 4: a year of policy impact!
In Working Group 2, we are shifting our focus for the final year to creating policy impact. We are in particular exploring new systems for impact measurement by policy-makers, and using them to generate more general lessons for our ENRESSH policy community.
One focus we have launched is in understanding the way that the societal impact of research is evaluated in funding proposals. Increasing numbers of funders are stipulating that academics should ensure that research plans identify clear mechanisms throughout their research activities to make their knowledge useful and available to societal partners. Together with the Research Council of Norway, we are exploring how to develop guidelines to help those charged with evaluating that impact to come to better evaluations. Gemma Derrick is undertaking a short-term scientific mission in Oslo with RCN looking at proposals from their 2019 funding round to develop guidelines.
A second focus is understanding reward mechanisms for impact creation activities, and ensuring that SSH’s needs are taken into account in developing national mechanisms for rewarding researchers. Spain is currently introducing a certification system for individuals creating societal impact, following the approach previously adopted for certifying excellent research (the sexenio). Together with CSIC-INGENIO and CSIC-IFS in Spain, we are exploring the guidelines for those that seek to create impact by drafting professional texts (guidelines, protocols, handbooks and other written forms for use by professional rather than academic audience). We have not managed to identify a STSM candidate to undertake this work, and there is an opportunity open for our Spanish speaking partners to participate in the activity.
We have been successful in our academic activities, and now is the time to ensure that they translate them into policy lessons. If you have any ideas for how to do this or interest in our results more generally, then contact the WG leaders.
Successful third ENRESSH training school
From October 21st to 25th we organized the third ENRESSH training school on “National bibliographic databases and their uses for evaluating and understanding research” at Adam Mickiewizc University in Poznań, Poland. Over 30 participants from 19 different countries, ranging from Spain to Russia and including Cuba and Peru, worked intensely towards the main learning outcome of the training school, i.e. the group presentation of a business plan on setting up or maintaining a national bibliographic database on Friday 25th. All group work presentations and all presentations prepared by the trainers are available at here [link to the webpage]. The trainers shared their insides in the situation in different countries, including Germany, Poland and China, as well as in more technical matters such as enrichment of metadata and the use of persistent identifiers. Christina Hiudiu from Digital Science discussed the possibilities of Dimensions for national bibliographic databases. On Tuesday morning the 22nd Linda Sīle and Dragan Ivanovic started out with the presentation of the Manual of good practices on Creating and maintaining a national bibliographic database for research output (DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.9989204), a major deliverable of our action. Every evening Emanuel Kulczycki and his colleagues from the Scholarly communications research group in Poznań organized an evening activity, including a wonderful visit to the library of Adam Mickiewizc University.
Any questions or comments relating to the training school are very welcome. Should you be interested to host a training school on national bibliographic databases in the future, please contact Tim Engels and Emanuel Kulczycki. All presentations can be found here.
- Linda Sile, Raf Guns, Dragan Ivanovic, Janne Pölönen and Tim Engels (2019). ‘Good practice manual on databases for research output.’ ENRESSH & ECOOM.
- Marc Vanholsbeeck, Theodosia Demetriou, Agne Girkontaite, Andreja Istenic Starcic, Ville Keiski, Emanuel Kulczycki, Elena Papanastasiou, Janne Pölönen, Hulda Proppe and Maja Vehovec (2019). ‘Senior academics as key negotiators in the implementation of impact policies in the social sciences and humanities.‘ in fteval Journal for Science and Technology Policy Evaluation (Open Access), 48, pp 72-79.
- Emmanuel Kulczycki, Ewa A. Rozkosz, Tim. C.E. Engels, Raf Guns, Marek Hołowiecki & Janne Pölönen (2019). ‘How to identify peer-reviewed publications: Open-identity labels in scholarly book publishing.’ In: PlosOne (Open Access).
- Nelius Boshoff & Stefan de Jong. ‘Conceptualizing the societal impact of research in terms of elements of logic models: a survey of researchers in sub-Saharan Africa.’ In: Research Evaluation (advance article – login required)
There is this Tarot card with the meaning of the Fool, total zero, who knows nothing and has no status. But actually it is a good card. It reflects all the benefits of the starting position. Huge potential, everything’s ahead, nobody takes you seriously, so you can ask anything (even stupid things) and do anything (even stupid things), play with rules, test boundaries and create things that were not created before, because you are not yet embedded in certain patterns of thinking and behavior and you are still allowed to take risks. Freedom and potential.
However, those who are in this ECR stage share quite different experiences. Struggle to prove yourself for peers and senior colleagues is a challenging and necessary step. But after you get your PhD, proving yourself to the system becomes much more important. The push towards productivity at any cost, huge competition, no more support (both financial and psychological) – this all comes unexpectedly for most of us. No position and no resources. Being a fool is not allowed anymore. And it is hard, trying to find your way, to fight your way through this. No wonder that so many leave academia at this stage.
But the potential. This stage of ECR is crucial for reproduction of scientific communities. Not only as simply filling places for those older ones who leave. But also as the one creating challenges for the existing order and adapting to new conditions of constantly changing world that was not here when older generation was in place.
Let’s hope (and work) for the system that creates possibilities to express and not suppress this potential.
11-13 March, 2020
11-13 March, 2020
2nd PEERE International Conference on Peer Review 2020
April 28-29, 2020
May 25-28, 2020
3-5 June, 2020
European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation
Utrecht, the Netherlands
18-21 August, 2020
EASST/4S 2020 Conference
Prague, Czech Republic