Topic Ethics of Evaluation

By 7 January 2019
Researcher`s institution:
Host institution: Department of “Lettere e culture moderne”, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.
Period of stsm:
Funds approved:

Description of the topic:Evaluation of research involves judgement of scholarly works, research proposals or of fellow scholars. Such an endeavour comes with ethical issues. While research on assessment procedures, especially indicators, is abundant, research on ethical issues and ethical guidelines for evaluating research or scholars is scarce. This STSMwill examine ethical aspects of research assessment, starting by analysing the ethical aspects of research. The project of which the STSM will be part consists of four steps: The first step concerns the analysis of the guidelines for the ethics of research that are available. In the second step, the different research evaluation situations are highlighted and analysed with regard to ethical issues: a) review of papers to accept /reject for publication in scientific journals or call for papers; b1) institutional evaluation by the Ministry of Education or by an institution itself, b2) national habilitation procedures; c) ex-ante evaluation in attribution of competitive research funding. The third step consists in examining the fundamental characteristics of subjective judgements, their limits and boundaries, such as what are the borders of the subjective opinion? Or: what are the characteristics of the personal opinion? In the fourth step, a survey of, or interviews with, scholars of some scientific fields are planned. The survey/interviews will focus on scholars’ perception and conceptions of ethical aspects in evaluation procedures. As a final result, we will offer new ethical guidelines for research assessment. The STSM will focus on the first two steps.


Objectives: The STSM aims to further the understanding knowledge production and dissemination in the SSH (Task 1 of WG1) from an ethical perspective; it will analyse assumptions underlying peer review (Task 2 of WG1); it will not only observe (national) regulations (Task 3 of WG1) but also propose new guidelines. It will add to the deliverable “recommendations for better adapted criteria and indicators” due in GP4. It will lead to collaborative publications and to guidelines for ethical behaviour for the evaluation of research.

Special criteria for this STSM: the applicant should have knowledge of the different evaluation situations as well as of the characteristics of peer-review and should have knowledge of the fundamentals of ethical behaviour.

Results: The proposed STSM will provide guidelines for ethical behaviour for the evaluation of research, and will produce co-authored publications.

Practical details:

Working group: WG1 (Conceptual frameworks for SSH research evaluation)

Duration and timing: between 2 weeks and 1 month from 1stof February and the 28thof February 2019.

Location: Sapienza Rome University, Faculty of “Lettere e Filosofia”, piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma – Italy.

Contact: Maria Teresa Biagetti (