EARMA Conference Oslo


Research evaluation matters

Barriers and incentives towards responsible research evaluations at Danish Universities


Lone Bredahl


  • T
    Tanja Strøm, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
  • L
    Laura Himanen, Tampere University, Finland
  • M
    Marianne Gauffriau, The Royal Danish Library, Denmark


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Oral 30 Minutes

Topic: Policy, Strategy, Evaluation and Foresight


The need for responsible research evaluation is surfacing on international agendas. The European Commission’s ‘Towards 2030’ universities vision statement cites an ambition to “move beyond existing ranking systems” to avoid "overly-simplistic ways of measuring universities’ research performance”. And at university level they should seek to “adopt alternative mechanisms of research evaluation”.

Research evaluation is too often about measuring what can be measured instead of what should be measured. The starting point should not be the availability of data, but what is valued about the entity under evaluation. The PARE-project (Probing 5 arguments for responsible evaluation on HE leaders) examines knowledge and attitudes toward value-driven research assessment among leaders at Danish universities. Through interviews with deans and department heads, it identifies barriers for conducting evaluations in a way that makes them meaningful, responsible, and effective, and the project brings to light potential incentives for engaging in value-driven responsible research evaluation at the management level at Danish universities.

The PARE project draws on tools developed by the INORMS Research Evaluation Group. SCOPE, a five-step framework for conducting value-driven responsible research evaluation, was probed in the interviews, and ‘Five arguments to persuade HE Leaders to evaluate research responsibly’ was used to analyse the interview data.

If the responsible research evaluation movement has taught us anything, it is that change is born out of accountability – both from those who run evaluations, and those that use them for decision-making. The session will give participants insights into why conducting value-driven evaluations may be seen as challenging by leaders and at the same time give suggestions for how to motivate management to engage in value-driven evaluations.


European Commission. Directorate General for Research and Innovation., & Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services LLP (CSES). (2020). Towards a 2030 vision on the future of universities in Europe. Publications Office. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/510530

Himanen, L., & Gadd, E. (2019). Introducing SCOPE – a process for evaluating responsibly. Bibliomagician. https://thebibliomagician.wordpress.com/2019/12/11/introducing-scope-aprocess-for-evaluating-responsibly/

INORMS Research Evaluation Working Group. (n.d.-a). Five arguments to persuade HE Leaders to evaluate research responsibly (p. 1). Retrieved July 21, 2021, from https://inorms.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/five-ways-to-persuade-leaders-to-evaluate-responsibly.pdf

INORMS Research Evaluation Working Group. (n.d.-b). Introducing ‘SCOPE’—A five-stage process for evaluating responsibly (p. 1). Retrieved July 21, 2021, from https://inorms.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/scope-overview.pdf