Normalization of peer-evaluation measures of group research quality across academic disciplines

Ralph Kenna, B. Berche

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    14 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Peer-evaluation-based measures of group research quality such as the UK's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which do not employ bibliometric analyses, cannot directly avail of such methods to normalize research impact across disciplines. This is seen as a conspicuous flaw of such exercises and calls have been made to find a remedy. Here a simple, systematic solution is proposed based upon a mathematical model for the relationship between research quality and group quantity. This model manifests both the Matthew effect and a phenomenon akin to the Ringelmann effect and reveals the existence of two critical masses for each academic discipline: a lower value, below which groups are vulnerable, and an upper value beyond which the dependency of quality on quantity reduces and plateaus appear when the critical masses are large. A possible normalization procedure is then to pitch these plateaus at similar levels. We examine the consequences of this procedure at RAE for a multitude of academic disciplines, corresponding to a range of critical masses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)107-116
    JournalResearch Evaluation
    Volume20
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Bibliographical note

    This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Research Evaluation following peer review. The version of record Kenna, R. and Berche, B. (2011) Normalization of peer-evaluation measures of group research quality across academic disciplines. Research Evaluation, volume 20 (2): 107-116 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3152/095820211X12941371876625

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