Annual Assessment of Research Activity at Reykjavik University. Terms of References

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1 Annual Assessment of Research Activity at Reykjavik University Terms of References 1. Background and purpose Reykjavik University (RU) consists of five academic schools: School of Law, School of Business, School of Health and Education, School of Computer Science and the School of Science and Engineering. The University is a community of over 3000 students and over 500 full time and part time employees. About half of all lecturers at RU are active in Icelandic industry, and about 10% are guest lecturers from overseas. Academic FET positions at the University are approximately 125. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture allocates annually research funds to the University. These funds are allocated on the basis of Article 21 of Act No. 63/ on higher education institutions. Furthermore, the research funding is based on an agreement between the Ministry and the University, dated 19 October (see Annex A A Section from the Agreement between RU and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture on Teaching and Research). In consistency with its research strategy (see Annex B Reykjavik University Strategy on Research) and in accordance with above mentioned agreement with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the University has decided to carry out annually an evaluation of its research activity. Consequently the University has adopted the following principles in distributing annual research funds from the government: The University will use research money from the government to fund research only. Funded research should meet the standards of the international research community in each field. Research money will be distributed to the schools that make up the University based on a measure of their research activity and merits. Each school is then responsible for distributing the money to its constituent departments or components, and for using it to support its research activities. The University will respect the academic freedom of its staff, and will not base funding decisions on the subject of research, but solely on its merits as evidenced by peer-review. The research activity of each school will be measured through fair, objective peer-review. The present evaluation of research activity at RU will be carried out in the autumn as approved by the Rector of RU following recommendations of the RU Research Council. The main objective of the evaluation is to examine the quality of the research and research activity of the Schools during -. The outcome of this evaluation will be used in distributing governmental research funds between the Schools in

2 2. Organization and coordination On June 11, the Rector of RU approved the evaluation procedure and its organization. The list of invited Panel members, the Terms of Reference and the Research Report form have been discussed in, and recommended by, the RU Research Council and approved by the Rector. The evaluation process is operationally coordinated by the RU Research Services. The Coordinator, Dr. Kristján Kristjánsson, is available to answer questions regarding the evaluation process, and to assist the Evaluation Panel in meetings and in preparing the Evaluation Report. The chair of the RU Research Council will also function as a contact person to the Evaluation Panel and assist the Panel in the evaluation process, if necessary. 3. Evaluation Panel The evaluation will be carried out by five distinguished external scientists. The Panel is selected by the RU Research Council in collaboration with the schools within RU. Each school is asked to recommend at least 5 distinguish foreign experts as potential candidates, i.e. 25 candidates in total. From these the RU Research Council selects the Panel membership, which comprises one representative for each major research field/school. Furthermore the Council appoints one of the selected members as the chair of the Evaluation Panel. The University has invited the five distinguish experts below as Evaluators in : 1. Dr. Gerjo Kok, University of Maastricht, Netherlands, in the field of Health and Education 2. Dr. Grétar Tryggvason, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, in the field of Science and Engineering 3. Dr. Mogens Nielsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, in the field of Computer Science 4. Dr. Jacob Graff Nielsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in the field of Law 5. Dr. Charles M. A. Clark, St. John s University, USA, in the field of Business 4. Evaluation material and work plan The Evaluation Panel will use the Research Reports - (see Annex C RU Annual Research Report) from each faculty members to evaluate their research activity. All faculty members who conduct research and publish, using Reykjavik University as their affiliation, are obliged to deliver a Research Report and be evaluated. The Research Report is divided into the following five sections: 1. Research output in peerreviewed outlets; 2. Research work; 3. Honors and awards; 4. Non peer-reviewed output; 5. Other relevant information. Panel members are asked to base their evaluation and hence their rating (see below) first and foremost on the quantity/quality of research output in peer-reviewed outlets, i.e. the first section of the Research Report. The Panel should notice that citations by peers and quality of outlets are important evaluation criteria. Finally, in their evaluation, the Panel is also asked to consider the contribution of each researcher to RU s scientific production and RU s standing in the international research community. 2

3 The Evaluation Panel will assign the following rating to each member of academic staff of each school. All comparisons are to the international research community in each field and impact is witnessed by publications, citations, derived work, advising of doctoral students/post-docs, grants, status (roles as editor, PC member/organizer of conferences, examiner of Ph.D. thesis, etc. see in more detail in the Research Report). Researchers that have received their PhDdegree within the last two years should be assigned the score 1 as the minimum. Category 0. None or insignificant research activity. 1. Little but nontrivial research activity. 2. Contributes to the research community but little impact. 3. Considerable and active participant in the research community, with a clear contribution and impact. 4. Significant and active participant in the research community, with a substantial contribution and impact. The Panel will need to consider that, in some cases, it is not relevant to publish the results in other than peer-reviewed domestic outlets. These publications may well provide evidence of international excellence if they can be compared favourably with similar studies in other countries. Thus, publications in peer-reviewed domestic outlets should not have a negative effect upon the rating as such. The Panel should take into consideration fields that are particularly domestic in nature, which rely on research output in peer-reviewed domestic outlets as well as in international outlets. The Panel is encouraged to use the entire category scale. However, the highest ranking should not be given unless the Panel concludes that the researcher represents strong international standing. Individual panel members assign scores (0-4) to all researchers, within all schools, after reviewing the Research Reports of each of the researchers. The Panel will only meet once to discuss the rating from each Panel member and to reach consensus on the final rating. Following recommendations from RU Research Council, the University has decided to attach to the above scale a weighted point system, whose primary aim is to recognize those researchers who are exceptionally active. The intent is to encourage the deans to enhance the quality of research in their schools by appointing such outstanding researchers and by enabling those already on the faculty who have that potential to realize it. Hence, the research funds will be distributed according to the points given to each school. However, the Panel is only asked to assign rating according to the category scale above. The point scale is as follows: Category Points

4 5. Confidentiality and conflicts of interest Panel members undertake not to make use of, and not to divulge to third parties any non-public facts, information, knowledge, documents or other matters communicated to them or brought to their attention in the performance of the evaluation. The evaluation and the ratings are only for internal use and confidential until the result of the evaluation is made available for the schools. The Panel members are required to declare a conflict of interest where s(he) deems it appropriate. The Panel member is disqualified if the impartiality is endangered. If a Panel member is contacted by any RU faculty members or from the schools, he or she is obliged to discuss the issue with the Coordinator. 6. Evaluation report The evaluation report is based on the evaluation criteria defined by Reykjavik University. The evaluation report will be written and edited by the Panel members with the assistance of the Coordinator. The evaluation report is confidential and only for internal use. The result of the evaluation will not be published, but only made available to the deans of the schools. It is, however, the responsibility of the deans to reveal individual ratings to individual researchers. 7. Funds The evaluation is entirely funded by Reykjavik University, which will pay an expert fee to the Panel members. All travel expenses related to the Panel s meeting and accommodation in Iceland will be covered or reimbursed by the University. 8. Time plan It is expected that the evaluation process will take approximately one month. Faculty members of all schools have been asked to deliver their Research Reports - before 15 th of October,. The panel should deliver its evaluation report in mid-november. Timetable: October 15 th October 25 th October - November Mid-November Deadline for faculty members to deliver their Research Reports - Research Reports sent to Panel members Panel members work on the evaluation and assign ratings Panel members meet in Iceland Panel Report finalized and delivered 4

5 Annex A A Section from the Agreement between RU and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture on Teaching and Research The agreement in question is made on the basis of Article 21 of Act No. 63/ on higher education institutions. Furthermore, it is based on an agreement between the Ministry and the university, dated 19 th of October. The Part of the Agreement which Relates to Research II. Research, Development and Innovation and Other Matters The university will conduct research in the subjects it teaches as well as in other subjects which support its operations. Direct allocations from the government because of research work conducted at the university are meant to create a basis for the university to conduct research, for example, in cooperation with outside parties. Furthermore, the government provides the university with a temporary additional contribution because of the renting of accommodations at Höfðabakki 9. The rent contribution will discontinue in the middle of 2009 at which time new housing for the university is planned to come into use. It is assumed that the government will make payments to the university in parts as even as possible at the beginning of each month. The Minister of Education, Science and Culture has set forth the main points of emphasis concerning the arrangement of allocations for university-level research. The points appear in the policy of the Science and Technology Policy Council which was approved on 18 December 2003 as well as in later resolutions of the Council. During the agreement period, the Ministry will further develop the arrangement of allocations for research at universities, for example, base allocations. The arrangement will at the least be supported by international benchmarks on research quality, including publications, citations, contributions from domestic and foreign research funds, and international research collaboration. For this purpose, a record of publications shall be kept at universities. Furthermore, it is assumed that evaluations of universities will be carried out, for example, to evaluate research success and the performance of universities which receive research contributions from the government. The evaluation results may become an important factor in deciding on base allocations for research at the universities concerned; cf. the resolution of the Science and Technology Policy Council. To provide the university and its academic staff with the same access to foreign science and technology development funds as other universities and research institutions, the Ministry will pay access contributions and expect the university to partake in competition for research grants from funds and private companies. In this way it is assumed that increased government contributions to public competitive funds will create new opportunities for the university at the same time as it is provided with the restraint inherent in competition. 5

6 Article 4 Internal Work of the University Research quality. The university shall strengthen research and reinforce its infrastructure to make it as capable as possible in the coming years of competing for research funds within the changed environment of science and research on the basis of general quality benchmarks. During the agreement period, the university shall fulfil its obligations concerning control of research quality, cf. Article 12 of Act No. 63/ on universities 1). There it is stipulated how each university which has a research role shall fulfil its obligations concerning control of research quality and utilisation of funding provided for research. The Ministry will publish rules on quality control for research. At the close of the agreement period, an evaluation of research activity at the university shall be carried out according to benchmarks specified in the rules. Furthermore, the Ministry can at any time have an evaluation carried out of research activity at the university. 1) Article 12. Higher Education Institution carries out systematic quality control of teaching and research on the basis of an internal evaluation. The internal evaluation of a Higher Education Institution and its individual units shall be carried out regularly and deal with policy and objectives, study content, teaching, teaching methods, assessment, research, research effectiveness, working conditions, administration and external relations. Active participation of staff and students in the internal quality control process of Higher Education Institutions shall be ensured as appropriate. 6

7 Annex B REYKJAVIK UNIVERSITY STRATEGY ON RESEARCH Premises 1. A university will not thrive without powerful research firmly rooted in the international research community. 2. Research revolves around the creation and dissemination of knowledge. The quality of scientific knowledge is best ensured via peer review in academic forums. 3. Research is a creative and pioneering endeavour. Such work must be powered by the personal drive and ambition of each scientist. Basic Strategy 1. The scientists of Reykjavik University (RU) must be active participants in the scientific community and research at RU must meet the requirements made of meticulous research conducted internationally. With regard given to research areas limited to Icelandic society, RU s scientists should strive for the goal of acquiring international recognition for their work. The most important indicator of research success is work published in established peer-reviewed forums. 2. RU is a place of academic freedom. This means that the University s scientists have independence in their choice of research topics, and in their interpretation and publication of research results. Furthermore, they have the right to be critical in their opinions. For further information on academic freedom, refer to the statement of all university Rectors in Iceland signed in Reykjavik on 15 June. 3. RU s goal is to develop powerful research which will enhance the reputation of the university internationally, infuse teaching at the school with new ideas, and provide both industry and the community with new knowledge. Research and the Management of the University 1. Rules and guidelines on advancement to academic positions must be clear and set ambitious standards for advancement into the positions of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. In evaluating competence and in making advancement decisions, success in research should in general be the most heavily weighted factor, and should always be compared to the requirements of the international research community. Whenever appropriate, the status of a scientist should be evaluated in an international context. 2. Recognition in the form of salaries and allocation of research funds are important motivators for academic staff in their work. Both factors should ensure that scientists put forth their best effort and that they are compensated in accordance with their achievements. In connection with this, the university s guiding principle must be the merit-based evaluation of the international scientific community. 7

8 3. Internal assessment of research achievement at RU shall be conducted annually. In addition to this, every five years, an outside party, usually from abroad, shall be called upon to assess the status of each school or department in the international scientific community and to compare it to similar units at other established universities. Both of these assessments shall then be the basis for the allocation of funds for research work. 8

9 Annex C RU ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT - Name of researcher: Name of School: Highest academic degree (year): Position at RU: 1. Research output in peer-reviewed outlets RU affiliated (X) a. Articles in peerreviewed scholarly journals b. Articles, posters and abstracts in peer-reviewed conferences/ symposia/ proceedings 9

10 c. Peer-reviewed books and book chapters d. Other peerreviewed publications e. In your own opinion, list your best peerreviewed publications, in the period - (max 4) f. Number of citations by peers, as listed by Cite Seer, Google Scholar, ISI or other important citations. 10

11 2. Research work a. PhD and postdoc supervision b. Supervision of other students (research projects) c. Leadership in research groups/centres 11

12 d. Grants obtained from competitive research funds e. Other research grants f. Participation and role in international research projects/ programs g. Editorial work 12

13 (scientific journals and books) h. Referee work (scientific journals and conferences) i. Participation in scientific advisory boards j. Organization of scientific conferences (program/ 13

14 organizing committee chair/member) k. Examiner (research education) l. Member of qualification assessment committees (for promotions/ hiring) m. Other; What? 14

15 3. Honours and awards a. Invited presentations at scientific conferences (Invited plenary talks, and other invited talks of similar dignity) b. Research awards, prizes, honours and scientific positions of trust c. Other; What? 15

16 4. Non peer-reviewed output RU affiliated (X) a. Scientific articles b. Books and other scientific publications c. Chapters in scientific/ scholarly books 16

17 d. Scientific reports and reviews/ evaluations/ opinions e. Other; What? 5. Other relevant information 17

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