Six dimensions of responsible research assessment

In every evaluation at Ghent University, six dimensions regarding responsible evaluation can be found:

  1. Quality and impact: Ghent University strives for quality in every evaluation. Evaluations are carefully designed and carried out. They are also evaluated themselves and adjusted if necessary to further ensure the quality of future evaluations. In this way, Ghent University aims to ensure that research evaluation is meaningful and impactful for the individual or entity being evaluated.
  2. Customization: There is no template in which every research evaluation at Ghent University fits. For each evaluation it is determined why the evaluation is being conducted, who/what is being evaluated, and how this is done. This helps to ensure that research evaluation is deliberate, purposeful and efficient.
  3. Differentiation: Ghent University takes into account the diversity and variety in research and among researchers during research evaluation (e.g., differences in publication culture between disciplines, differences in intended impact).
  4. Holistic: The many aspects of research and the various roles researchers take on are valued and evaluated. Research evaluation considers the research results, the underlying research processes, and the impact of the research. Collaboration between researchers and the broad range of tasks performed by researchers (e.g., teaching, leadership, supervising students and PhD candidates) are also taken into account.
  5. Transparency: The entire evaluation process – from design over execution of providing feedback – is conducted as transparently as possible (while of course respecting the confidentiality of the evaluation). Clear and verifiable evaluation methods, criteria and indicators are used.
  6. Expertise-driven: Evaluations are conducted by unbiased peers who have the necessary expertise in research and knowledge in research evaluation to assess the quality and impact of research. Ghent University values and recognizes the contribution researchers make to the evaluation of research.

These six dimensions are part of the university’s overall vision on evaluation of research and researchers. They are guiding principles for, among others, the Special Research Fund and for the evaluation and promotion of members of the professorial staff, although specific emphases can be placed in each evaluation, taking into account its uniqueness and objectives. A practical guide outlines how responsible research assessment is implemented in practice at Ghent University.