Work Group 1: Conceptual frameworks for SSH research evaluation

The objective of this Working Group is to further our understanding of the SSH knowledge production processes and strategies as well as dissemination practices, as a basis for developing evaluation procedures that adequately reflect the research practices, goals and aims of the SSH. The Working Group will tackle the dialectic issues of the potentials and drawbacks of (a) metric approaches and peer review; (b) international exchange and cooperation and the local rootedness of SSH; and (c) the need for interdisciplinary exchange and disciplinary expertise.

To address these issues, the work group is organised into thematic sub-groups according to its tasks and the expertise of its members. The sub-groups are dynamic and new sub-groups will emerge within the lifetime of the Action. Currently, the following sub-groups are active:

  • Legal and policy frameworks: In the participating countries, evaluations are carried out for different reasons, with a variety of goals and under different legal preconditions. This sub-group studies the different legal frameworks within which evaluations are conducted in the participating countries.
  • Overview of evaluation practices. Evaluations are carried out in all participant countries. Some evaluation procedures are well documented while for others not much is known to the international scientific community. This sub-group studies the differences and similarities between the SSH research evaluation procedures in the participating countries and develops a typology of evaluation procedures in the SSH. A special focus will be put on criteria used in evaluations.
  • Methods of peer review. Peer review is an important component of evaluation in the SSH. This sub-group studies different peer review practices. It covers different topics related to peer review, such as open peer review, book peer review, peer review vs. metrics.
  • Scholars’ notions of quality and impact. Evaluation includes statements about quality. Therefore, it is important to know what quality means in the different disciplines. The scholars themselves know best what quality in their fields is but are rather neglected when it comes to evaluation criteria. Similarly, it is important to understand the scholars’ notions of impact of their research. By studying the scholar’s notions of these key issues, this sub-group collects criteria for the quality and impact of SSH research.
  • SSH scholar’s attitudes towards and behaviour regarding evaluation. In order to prevent negative steering effects, knowledge is needed regarding as to how scholars react to evaluations and how evaluations affect their working behaviour. Knowledge on the scholars’ attitudes towards evaluation on the other hand helps to design evaluation practices that are accepted by the scholars because they reflect their values and relate to their work.
  • This sub-group collects the relevant literature for the work group and creates the relevant categories and keywords for the bibliography. It analyses the literature on the topics of the work group.

Additionally, there is a transversal sub-group that focuses on gender issues within all sub-groups. We decided not to create a single sub-group for gender because this topic should be present in all sub-groups and not be treated separately to come to best results.