Missing categories in evaluations
 of individual academics - New Trends in eHumanities

Frank van der Most, eHumanities Group and DANS


March 6, 2014

Missing categories in evaluations
 of individual academics.
 The need for an ‘other’ category

This presentation deals with the question what evaluations render invisible in the work and careers of individual academics? The answers are taken from interviews with about 40 academics in four countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom) and four disciplines (astronomy and astrophysics, environmental engineering, philosophy, and public health).

The question has a double relevance for the eHumanities. The practical relevance is that the field of eHumanities is a new field that may require new ways of working, skills and expertise, create new forms of output, and may build new (types of) networks. All of these may not be addressed in academic evaluations and thus remain un-credited. The ACUMEN project has identified and categorized a number of such aspects and proposes to take them up in evaluations such as job applications, project proposals and promotion applications. How well has ACUMEN done its job? What is still missing?

The theoretical relevance has to do with the notion of ‘categories’ or ‘classifications’ that play a role not only in evaluations, but also in the ACUMEN project. There is a constant need for an ‘other’ category.

For information on ACUMEN, see http://research-acumen.eu/ Download the deliverable with the results on invisible work here

Frank van der Most started his work on the ACUMEN project in the summer of 2011 at the e-Humanities Group. His research interests are research practices, the funding and organization of research, research policies and the interactions between these three. He studied Computer Science at the University of Twente and Sciences and Arts at Maastricht University. From 1997 until 2005 he was involved in research projects in the history of technology, the policy and scientific developments surrounding mad cow disease, and an evaluation of the Norwegian Research Council. During these projects he developed an interest in digital tools for qualitative and historical research, for which he developed a database application. After a failed attempt to commercially exploit these interests he returned to academia and in 2009 defended his doctoral thesis titled ‘Research councils facing new science and technology : The case of nanotechnology in Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland’ at the University of Twente. From 2009 until 2011, he did a post-doctoral project on the use and effects of research evaluations at the CIRCLE institute for innovation studies at Lund University. Frank still has a keen interest in digital tools for research and keeps a blog on research policy and practices at www.researchaffairs.net