Please enable Java in your browser's "Options" (or "Preferance") menu to view this page Concordia's Thursday Report____________October 22, 1998

Different disciplines to be evaluated differently

Measuring research's impact

by Sylvain-Jacques

Quebec universities are working on establishing new indicators on the impact university research is having on society.

At a conference jointly organized by the Association des administrateurs et des administratrices de recherche universitaire du Québec (ADARUQ) and the Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences (ACFAS) at Concordia on October 14, about 75 university research administrators, public sector officials and consultants with interests in university research decided that a small working group would be formed to further examine how the impact of university research can be most effectively measured.

The working group will be working under the Conférence des recteurs et principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ), with results to be tabled in eight to 12 months.

Establishing common indicators for the various academic disciplines will not be an easy task, since different disciplines must be evaluated differently; research into the fine arts has different characteristics than medical research, for instance. Universities are keen on creating such indicators as a way to facilitate the allocation of research resources, which are increasingly sparse.

Conference participants also stressed that indicators of research performance should be considered more as management tools than as absolute measures.

"Defining such tools can only increase the probability that needed resources will be mobilized to continue the vibrant university research which contributes to society's
socioeconomic and cultural development," said Erica Besso, Director of Concordia's Office of Research Services.

Copyright 1998 Concordia's Thursday Report.