The Bologna reform’s impacts on the scientific publication performance of Ph.D. graduates—the case of Slovenia

Abstract

In this paper, the impact of the Bologna reform is analyzed based on differences in scientific publication performance among the Ph.D. graduates that enrolled into doctoral study programs before the implementation of the Bologna reform in Slovenia (the pre-Bologna Ph.D. graduates) and those that enrolled after (the post-Bologna Ph.D. graduates). The transition between programs was not immediate; in Slovenia, the first Ph.D. students of the Bologna doctoral study programs were enrolled in the 2005/06 academic year, while the last academic year in which it was still possible to enroll into the pre-Bologna program was 2009/10. For Slovenian Ph.D. graduates from the 2007–2016 period, their publication records from 2 years prior to their Ph.D. theses defense to 2 years after are used for the analysis. Four indicators of their scientific publication performance are analyzed and compared: productivity, collaboration, internationality, and independence—each of them capturing a different aspect of the graduates’ research activities. The results show that there is no significant difference in the average productivity and collaboration between the post-Bologna Ph.D. graduates and the pre-Bologna Ph.D. graduates, while the values for both groups in both indicators are unexpectedly notably decreasing over the years. In contrast, internationality and independence are more constant, in general, whereas the differences between the two researched groups of Ph.D. graduates are more visible. Therefore, we conclude that the Bologna reform has a significant impact on the scientific publication performance of Ph.D. graduates, as there are notable differences in the pre-Bologna and the post-Bologna Ph.D. graduates’ performance.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.scopus.com.

  2. 2.

    http://www.webofknowledge.com.

  3. 3.

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development currently has 36-member countries, from North and South America to Europe and Asia–Pacific, including 27 from the Europe (https://www.oecd.org/about/members-and-partners/) which are also among European Higher Education Area (EHEA) countries. EHEA/BFUG (Bologna Follow-up Group) members are 48 countries and the European Commission (http://ehea.info/page-full_members).

  4. 4.

    https://www.nakvis.si/wp-content/uploads/natasa/Javna-evidenca-SP-akreditiranih-po-1-mar-2010_20-6-2019.xlsx.

  5. 5.

    https://pxweb.stat.si/SiStatDb/pxweb/en/10_Dem_soc.

  6. 6.

    Those Ph.D. students performed their research within companies, but were fully financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.

  7. 7.

    The Agency finances their salaries, social contributions, as well as material and non-material costs. Funds for the training of AYRs are allocated for a fixed-term, up to a maximum of 4 years (duration of Ph.D. studies—3 years plus 1 additional year).

  8. 8.

    https://www.stat.si/StatWeb/Field/Index/9.

  9. 9.

    https://pxweb.stat.si/SiStatDb/pxweb/en/10_Dem_soc.

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Acknowledgements

The second and the third author acknowledge partial support from the bilateral project BI-RS/18-19-052 between Serbia and Slovenia. The second author would also like to thank the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development for support through Project No. 451-03-68/2020-14/200125. The third author acknowledges partial support from the Slovenian Research Agency Program P1–0383.

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Correspondence to Borut Lužar.

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Rojko, K., Bratić, B. & Lužar, B. The Bologna reform’s impacts on the scientific publication performance of Ph.D. graduates—the case of Slovenia. Scientometrics 124, 329–356 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03482-w

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Keywords

  • Bologna reform
  • Higher education
  • Ph.D. studies
  • Scientific performance
  • Research assessment