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Research assessment in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The central theme of the Eleventh AQU Catalunya Workshop, organised in collaboration with the Catalan universities, was "Research assessment in the Humanities and Social Sciences". The objective of the Workshop was to create a context for general reflexion and discussion on research to provide for the identification of proposals to enhance assessment and evaluation, with the intention of creating greater consensus within the scientific and academic community in Catalonia.

The more than three hundred participants in the Workshop were organised into workgroups (Group 1: Philosophy, History, Art, Anthropology and Geography, Group 2: Philology, Translation and Interpreting; Group 3: Education; Group 4: Economics and Business Studies, Political Science and Sociology; Group 5: Psychology; Group 6: Law; and Group 7: Library Science, Documentation and Communication), each one of which reached conclusions on how to enhance the assessment of research within their respective fields of knowledge.

The most significant generic contributions, which were shared by the majority of the workgroups, are set out in the following points:

  1. A mixed system for assessment needs to be established. Assessment should be based mainly on evaluation using indirect mechanisms, backed up in cases where this is requested of an evaluation of a particularly important piece of work using direct mechanisms.
  2. Assessment of the quality of research should be without prejudice to the language in which it is written nor the place that it originates or refers to.
  3. The role of the book, monograph and book chapter as highly important instruments used to channel research in these disciplinary fields needs to be restored.
  4. Quality criteria need to be set for academically oriented publishers in both the university and private sectors.
  5. Databases need to comply with clear and objective quality criteria in order for journals that are included to be assessed.
  6. A definition needs to be established for what is understood by knowledge transfer.
  7. All sections of the information on the procedure, the reviewer selection process, the rights of the evaluee and the evaluation criteria need to be precise, objective and transparent.
  8. In the case of indirect evaluation, the reviewers need to be from the same discipline as the person being evaluated (evaluee). In the case of direct evaluation, reviewers need to have a profile that is as close as possible to the field of knowledge.
  9. Improvements need to be made to the justification for assessment resolutions.
  10. There needs to be greater coordination between the agencies that assess and evaluate research.

PDF Final document on conclusions of the workshop Research assessment in the Humanities and Social Sciences

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