There has been extensive experience with evaluations in the Nordic countries. The paper gives a brief overview of work related to: evaluations of research fields, bibliometric studies, evaluations of research programmes, performance of research institutes, evaluation of bodies supporting research, evaluation of universities, indicators and databases.
Evaluations of whole areas of research started in the Nordic countries in the early 1980's. Another Nordic speciality is the evaluation of research-funding bodies. These evaluations comprise the Swedish Council for Planning and Co-ordination of Research, the Norwegian Research Council for Science and Humanities, the Academy of Finland and the Technology Development Centre (TEKES).
Many research programmes, research institutes and more narrow research fields have been evaluated in the Nordic countries. The evaluations have covered the tasks, performance and structure of these organisations. Lately, whole universities have been evaluated. A number of theoretical and methodological studies on evaluation have been published. Indicators of scientific, technological and educational performance and output have been developed in the Nordic countries. The paper deals mainly with ex post and to some extent also mid-term evaluations. However, ex ante evaluation, including peer review, has actively been developed and applied in the Nordic countries, though these developments lie outside the scope of this paper.
Typical for many Nordic evaluations is the use of foreign evaluators. Others have been based on surveys with potential users of research results and the scientists involved. Some of the evaluations have combined these approaches. Bibliometric studies have been performed parallel with some of the evaluations. Other bibliometric studies have compared the performance of the Nordic countries in an international perspective. In most cases the results of the evaluations are actively made public. Many of the evaluations combine an assessment of quality and relevance.
According to Nordic experiences important conditions for useful evaluations are: credibility implying the use of impartial and recognised experts and professionally done surveys; careful timing; active publicising of evaluation results; transparency of evaluation procedure; concrete measures and action following the evaluation.
When possible data required for the evaluation should be collected already in connection with the application or the report of the projects.
KeywordsResearch Programme Research Field Evaluation Activity Extensive Experience Evaluation Procedure
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