, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 785–805 | Cite as

Research-driven classification and ranking in higher education: an empirical appraisal of a Romanian policy experience

  • Gabriel-Alexandru Vîiu
  • Mihai Păunescu
  • Adrian Miroiu


In this paper we investigate the problem of university classification and its relation to ranking practices in the policy context of an official evaluation of Romanian higher education institutions and their study programs. We first discuss the importance of research in the government-endorsed assessment process and analyze the evaluation methodology and the results it produced. Based on official documents and data we show that the Romanian classification of universities was implicitly hierarchical in its conception and therefore also produced hierarchical results due to its close association with the ranking of study programs and its heavy reliance on research outputs. Then, using a distinct dataset on the research performance of 1385 faculty members working in the fields of political science, sociology and marketing we further explore the differences between university categories. We find that our alternative assessment of research productivity—measured with the aid of Hirsch’s (Proc Natl Acad Sci 102(46):16569–16572, 2005) h-index and with Egghe’s (Scientometrics 69(1):131–152, 2006) g-index—only provides empirical support for a dichotomous classification of Romanian institutions.


Research evaluation Higher education Institutional classification Institutional ranking h-index g-index 



Financial support from the National Research Council (Grant Number PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0746) is gratefully acknowledged by Gabriel Vîiu and Adrian Miroiu. The authors would also like to express their gratitude for the helpful comments and suggestions provided to them during the anonymous peer review process, both for the original paper submitted for the 2015 ISSI conference as well as for the subsequent manuscript submitted to Scientometrics.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceNational School of Political and Administrative StudiesBucharestRomania

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