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Sustainability of incentives for excellent research - the German case

Schmoch, Ulrich and Schubert, Torben LU (2009) In Scientometrics 81(1). p.195-218
Abstract

The state authorities in Germany used to fund public sector research without controlling the performance of the research units. This has changed during past decade, where the dominant mechanism by which formerly unconditional state funds are allocated nowadays is indicator-based performance measurement. The indicator sets used to measure the research-related performance in the German public science sector are usually very narrow, often consisting exclusively of finished doctoral theses and third-party funds. Using a unique dataset of 473 German research units from astrophysics, nanotechnology, economics and biotechnology, this paper outlines principles for the construction of sensible indicator sets for the performance measurement of... (More)

The state authorities in Germany used to fund public sector research without controlling the performance of the research units. This has changed during past decade, where the dominant mechanism by which formerly unconditional state funds are allocated nowadays is indicator-based performance measurement. The indicator sets used to measure the research-related performance in the German public science sector are usually very narrow, often consisting exclusively of finished doctoral theses and third-party funds. Using a unique dataset of 473 German research units from astrophysics, nanotechnology, economics and biotechnology, this paper outlines principles for the construction of sensible indicator sets for the performance measurement of scientific research groups. It is argued that scientific production is multidimensional. Thus one-sided indicator sets that fail to cover the relevant output dimensions give rise to incentives that will ultimately lower the performance of the science sector in total. Indicator sets should strive for sustainable incentives, which can be guaranteed if the sets are broad enough. As a starting point it is shown that the very common performance indicator "acquired third-party funds" may affect research efficiency negatively, especially if the level of third-party funds is already very high. Therefore, we conclude that third-party funds should be used with great care, if at all. © 2009 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
sustainability strategy, incentives, Research and development
in
Scientometrics
volume
81
issue
1
pages
24 pages
publisher
Akademiai Kiado
external identifiers
  • scopus:70350366597
ISSN
0138-9130
DOI
10.1007/s11192-009-2127-y
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
37719513-23d5-402f-9af7-5b01c3d438cd
date added to LUP
2016-05-18 13:35:43
date last changed
2017-04-09 04:46:06
@article{37719513-23d5-402f-9af7-5b01c3d438cd,
  abstract     = {<p>The state authorities in Germany used to fund public sector research without controlling the performance of the research units. This has changed during past decade, where the dominant mechanism by which formerly unconditional state funds are allocated nowadays is indicator-based performance measurement. The indicator sets used to measure the research-related performance in the German public science sector are usually very narrow, often consisting exclusively of finished doctoral theses and third-party funds. Using a unique dataset of 473 German research units from astrophysics, nanotechnology, economics and biotechnology, this paper outlines principles for the construction of sensible indicator sets for the performance measurement of scientific research groups. It is argued that scientific production is multidimensional. Thus one-sided indicator sets that fail to cover the relevant output dimensions give rise to incentives that will ultimately lower the performance of the science sector in total. Indicator sets should strive for sustainable incentives, which can be guaranteed if the sets are broad enough. As a starting point it is shown that the very common performance indicator "acquired third-party funds" may affect research efficiency negatively, especially if the level of third-party funds is already very high. Therefore, we conclude that third-party funds should be used with great care, if at all. © 2009 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.</p>},
  author       = {Schmoch, Ulrich and Schubert, Torben},
  issn         = {0138-9130},
  keyword      = {sustainability strategy,incentives,Research and development},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {195--218},
  publisher    = {Akademiai Kiado},
  series       = {Scientometrics},
  title        = {Sustainability of incentives for excellent research - the German case},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11192-009-2127-y},
  volume       = {81},
  year         = {2009},
}