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Assessing the impact of research results in Romania

Cat Williams, 8th April 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 19.56.35Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 19.56.24This is a guest blog post from Lenuta Ursachi – Librarian at Dunarea de Jos University Library, and Cristina Huidiu (@CristinaHuidiu) – Librarian at Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy Library

Research assessment has long been a hot topic in Romania, with different initiatives introduced in order to get a deeper view on the impact of Romanian research

A discussion about the research impact in the Romanian Higher Education (RHE) should consider the following aspects: the legal framework, the institutions responsible with the evaluation, type of publications, the indicators and other information relevant to this topic. According to current policies, research fields are grouped into five panels (Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities) and for each panel there is a set of minimal and mandatory standards that need to be met in order to get promoted. Within Romanian Ministry of Education there are four agencies that have an active role in research evaluation: the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS), responsible for the authorization and accreditation of higher education institutions,  the National Research Council (CNCS) together with the Executive Agency for Higher Education Research and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI), responsible for the quality of the scientific research and the National Council for Attesting of Titles, Diplomas and Certificates(CNATDCU), responsible for the quality of the human resources in RHE.

But how is scientific research actually measured in Romania? Academics have to provide annually a long list of information about their research activity. Every year researchers report on their activities through a form that tackles most of the areas they might have been active in. The following form (content in Romanian) is used at „Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati (DJUG). Consequently, comparisons between the research trends within the institution can be made, the main bibliometric indicators used for that being illustrated in the figure below:


The main bibliometric indicators for the research evaluation at DJUG

The indicators reveal connection between the type of publications and the institution responsible with the evaluation for those publications. For example:

  • number of books = number of books published with international publishers or those accredited by CNCS (as author, editor or coordinator);
  • number of articles = number of scientific articles published in ISI journals,  journals indexed in international databases, CNCS accredited journals or other professional journals from Romania or abroad;
  • number of citations = number of citations in: books published with international publishers or those recognized by CNCS; articles published in ISI quoted journals or ISI proceedings, journals indexed in international databases or CNCS recognized journals; scientific papers published in international conference organized in Romania or abroad.

Annually, UEFISCDI calculates its own indicator called the relative influence score having as reference the article influence score provided by the Journal Citation Report. The relative influence score is used to classify the ISI journals from Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Index in three zones: red zone (or zone 1 which includes top journals), yellow zone (or zone 2) and grey zone (or zone 3).

At individual and department level the h-index plays an important role because it is considered that it encompasses both the research productivity and the impact of the scientific results. Starting 2015 universities have been responsible with gathering this data for all their researchers and guidelines have been put in place in order to easily retrieve this information from WoS, Scopus and Google Scholar.

As librarians, it is our belief that as Romanian research and researchers are becoming more and more competitive at an international level, the need for more in depth analysis will come as natural.

The current research landscape is fast changing especially in highly active domains, such as medicine and each researcher should be able to get a clear answer to at least the following questions:

  1. What is the current research in my field (articles, books, blogs and patents)?
  2. What are the trends?
  3. Who’s who? (both as high achieving researchers and great communicators)
  4. Where’s the conversation going on? (in conferences and social media)
  5. What is the most reliable information?
  6. How to effectively promote the results and measure impact (find the right journal, the best conferences, best blogs, news outlets, communication spaces etc.)?
  7. How to effectively showcase my work in order to get more funding and/or talent?

Answers to these questions don’t lie under single number metrics but rather by using a comprehensive approach to research impact data.

Having a holistic view on what’s happening in their respective field of research could help researchers and institutions spot trends early on and also find the right partners and better promote research outputs.

Navigating the sea of metrics can be tricky but we do stand by our communities to help them better understand their opportunities. We would be very curious to know what are the challenges other librarians throughout the world are facing when presenting research metrics and what worked best for you?

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