Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems


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1. Introduction

Notes : In addition to the criteria included in the table, AT, NL, DK, EE, and FI also have engaged in the signing of performance contracts and use these as a determinant of the performance-based funding allocation. For more detailed descriptions of the funding allocation systems in place in the EU Member States, see Jonkers and Zacharewicz Bulgaria did have a PBRF system in its education law for several years, but this appears not to have been implemented.

Luxembourg has only a single university, it was not considered to have a PBRF system to allocate institutional funding between universities.

EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER PROVISIONS GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO HIGHER EDUCATION

However, its performance contract has many of the trappings of PBRF systems. Latvia has used assessments to change the allocation of its funding of PROs. For universities it has recently implemented a PBRF system, this is not yet reflected in this overview table. See Annex 1 of Jonkers and Zacharewicz for more detail. In Romania some steps have been taken to design an institutional funding system linked to performance assessment, in practice this is not yet implemented.

In Germany , the institutional funding of universities is mainly provided at the regional Laender level.

Belgium Wallonia : for the Special Research Funds, the education-metrics based system will still be partially linked to the historical distribution among universities during a transition period — For the concerted research actions, there is also a transition period with performance criteria being gradually introduced into the funding allocation formula from onwards. In , Czech Republic introduced a research performance-based methodology to allocate research funding. This methodology, based exclusively on quantitative indicators, was modified for the period —15 and introduced some peer review assessment elements.

After , bibliometric informed peer review should become the main mode of assessment Srholec and Szkuta Estonia does have performance contracts for universities for which universities are assessed on a number of education metrics. This does not concern the allocation of research funding.

Poland used to base its funding formula partially on historical considerations. Since however, this variable has been removed Klincewicz In the systems which are considered to be based on a peer review assessment, variables such as the impact of the research output, number of PhDs, patenting behaviour, etc, can also be considered. Since the main or at least an important element of the assessment mode is qualitative these systems are here grouped under this heading. The limited or large number of indicators considered should not necessarily be taken as an indicator of the level of sophistication of the system.

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For example the UK REF system is one of the oldest and most developed PBRF systems; however, in the table it is not considered to include many indicators in its funding formula. In the cases of Malta, Cyprus, and Luxembourg, this is probably a partial consequence of the relatively small size of the system Malta and Luxembourg only count one single university. In other instances, i. Greece, the absence of performance-based funding may be due to resistance from the academic community which has protested heavily against suggestions to introduce performance-based evaluation and allocation models Tsipouri Another traditional metric is to base funding allocation decisions on the number of research staff in the organisation.

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This criterion is not performance based and while most countries base part of their funding allocation on the basis of this indicator it is considered part of non-competitively allocated block funding rather than performance-based funding. Since these initiatives are based on voluntary ex ante selections of proposals they are not considered as performance-based funding systems in this report. In addition to the countries without any PBRF system, three categories have been identified. The first one is composed of Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Hicks did not include the Netherlands and Austria among the countries which have implemented PBRF systems because they do not base their funding allocations on assessments of research outputs. However since successfully defended PhD theses could be considered a research output, the countries that include this indicator as an element in their funding allocation systems are considered as limited research performance-based systems.


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The second PBRF category bases institutional funding allocation mechanisms on assessments of research outputs as assessed through quantitative bibliometrics. Bibliometric-based formulae generally rely on three main different approaches, the simplest of which consists of counting publications in national and international journals as well as in many countries books and conference proceedings.

However, some analysts have argued that this practice encourages publication in lower impact journals to boost output Butler To avoid perverse incentives, it is most often coupled with at least one of the two following approaches. Journal-based assessment allows taking into account quality criteria. For example, in the Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian systems, disciplinary panels of researchers evaluate more than 20, peer-reviewed journals and scholarly book publishers and divide them into two or three levels.

The three countries collaborate on developing their systems with support from Nordforsk, the Scandinavian research funding body Grimpe ; Sivertsen Poland has a PBRF tradition that goes back to the s. It underwent an evaluation of its PBRF system in and revised the evaluation process for its evaluation, for which it uses the journal impact factor Klincewicz In , the evaluation criteria were substantially modified to further promote organisations conducting world-class research. Whereas the previous countries based their bibliometric assessment on counts of publications, potentially weighted on the basis of the quality of journals, Flanders and Sweden have explicitly introduced a combination of output and publication level citation-based impact metrics.

The objective consists of taking into account both the volume as well as the actual impact of the research output. In Belgium Flanders , the share of the competitively allocated institutional research funding the BOF-Key has increased from 10 per cent when it was first introduced in DeBackere and Glanzel to 36 per cent in In the latest revision in , the weight of the social sciences and humanities have increased on the basis of a specially developed publication database that was custom made for this purpose DeBackere and Veugelers In addition to the citation-based impact assessments, Flanders also considers journal-based indicators in its formulae.


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Sweden has also implemented a sophisticated field weighted impact measurement system to assess university output Hicks ; Jacob ; Sivertsen Field differences can be taken into account either by applying field normalisations in publication level citation analyses e. SE, Flanders , or by taking into account weighted output assessments according to the type and level of prestige e. A comprehensive representation of the published output in all fields can be achieved by developing a complete custom-made bibliometric database for the Social Sciences and Humanities, as was done in Flanders Belgium or by using nationally integrated Current Research Information Systems that cover all fields comprehensively DK, SF, NO.

Formulae used in bibliometrics-based funding allocation tend to take into account many other factors than publication and citation metrics alone. These can include employment of graduates; external research funding; faculty characteristics and qualifications; faculty size; student enrolment; graduate students graduated; PhD defences; impact of research; participation in international research projects; collaboration with industry; and private sector funding elaborated on Hicks In many systems see e.

Solberg ; Kalpazidou Schmidt While the majority 70 per cent of institutional funds to HEI are given as block funding, the remaining 30 per cent is distributed on the basis of reported student performance, research performance, and strategic research considerations. Since a new funding structure has been in place for funding higher education institutions and consists of three components: block funding, a teaching component based on reported student performance, and a research component. This last feature consists of four dimensions, being scientific publications, 8 PhD candidates, competitive funding from the Research Council of Norway and Regional Research Funds, and funding from EU framework programmes.

The funding system is still undergoing further change, with a last reform in In Poland, the weight of this historical element has been decreasing since —12 and was removed in Nowadays only the outcomes of the most recent evaluation are taken into account. In most cases, these peer review assessments are heavily based on bibliometrics and other metrics and thus approach the second category in nature. Czech Republic had introduced in a research assessment system exclusively based on quantitative bibliometrics. This system is currently evolving towards a bibliometric informed peer review Srholec and Szkuta There are also exceptions such as the UK in which bibliometrics play a lesser role.

There are strong variations in the nature of the PBRF systems between these countries: especially the UK stands out as a country with a long tradition of PBRF allocation on the basis of an elaborate peer review system. On the other side of the spectrum, Italy relies heavily on bibliometrics to reduce the labour of peer review. Peer review systems tend to bring together field-based committees which have some discretion for developing appropriate standards of judgment for their field e. These committees may, for example, decide on how to evaluate different types of publications, books or other forms of intellectual output: be it Open Access databases, films, patents, plant varieties, etc, which may be more important in some fields than in others.

In Lithuania the weight given to the four categories differ between fields. For example, results of the evaluation of research production are given the highest weight in social sciences and humanities 80 per cent as well as physical and biomedical sciences 55 per cent. In the Czech Republic, peer review was used in assessing the publication output in the social sciences and humanities. In the UK REF, in addition to the peer review of scientific impact, expert panel review is used to assess case studies submitted to explain the societal impact a group's research has had.

One major potential advantage of peer review is that it can have a formative as well as a summative element. Bibliometric assessments and the funding systems based on them are necessarily backward looking, whereas funding systems underpinned by peer review assessment can have a forward looking component Sivertsen The implementation of PBRF systems aims to improve research cultures and facilitate institutional changes that can help increase research performance. Many EU countries have introduced, are introducing or are considering to introduce such systems.

PBRF that is additional to, rather than replacing, core funding would furthermore reduce institutional resistance against its introduction. Bibliometric approaches tend to be used for organisation-wide evaluations. In practice, most countries opt for university or departmental level evaluations to reduce the scope and resource demands of the assessment exercise.

Advantages of peer review include first and foremost that it is grounded in specialised knowledge of the scientific field, its methods and literature. Another strength is that it can help assess elements of research which are difficult to quantify, such as novelty. While peer review tends to be held in high esteem in the academic communities and therefore has a relatively high degree of acceptance, it is not without its weaknesses. These weaknesses are partially practical. Peer review is difficult to implement in small countries in which the pool of experts is insufficiently large.

Relying on international experts, as is done in Estonia, can be a solution to this problem though it precludes the assessment of some types of research outputs made in the national language. Nepotism and a lack of transparency can hamper the openness and fairness that should be basic principles of the peer review process. Peer review is often also considered to be conservative, favour mainstream research and disadvantage interdisciplinary or heterodox approaches.

This is partially because the organised scepticism that is inherent in the scientific enterprise can pose barriers to the acceptance of ideas or findings that contradict established ideas Hicks As indicated, e. Peer review is subjective by nature. To mitigate this, for example, the UK system requests two reviewers to assess each submitted publication. Frequently reviewers are partially guided by the reception of the submission within the academic world.

Introduction

According to the Stern Review the REF has cost million Euro, considerably more than in when it has cost 66 million euro Stern ; Sivertsen The use of expert reviews in the assessment of societal impact is also highly challenging. Derrick provides an in depth analysis of the use of expert panels in the assessment of societal impact in the REF. Considering the costs in resources and time involved in a peer review-based assessment, peer review exercises tend to be implemented irregularly or with a considerable time interval between assessments.

As a result, funding decisions may be based on out-of-date information. The quantitative assessment approaches e.

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The use of bibliometric indicators has various advantages over classical peer-based assessment mechanisms in which individual experts are requested to evaluate organisations.

Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems
Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems Policy and Performance in American Higher Education: An Examination of Cases across State Systems

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