Quality assurance in scientific research

From SEP to CEP: Balancing fairness and simplicity

Academy Committee for Quality Assurance

2008 | ISBN 978-90-6984-568-5 | gratis

The Committee for Quality Assurance of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has issued this report after analysing the state of the art of the evaluation of scientific research. The Committee came to the conclusion that the current régime of evaluations in the Netherlands, but also in other countries, is perceived by many as too complex and too burdensome. Moreover, most systems lack the flexibility necessary to judge the quality of the variety of disciplines and their dynamic development in multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary endeavors.
With regard to the Dutch system, the Committee recommends that there are two pivotal issues that need improvement.
- Simplification of procedures, both in requirements and in sheer number. There are too many, non standardised and partly overlapping evaluations. On top of that, there is a lack of mutual attunement.
- Fairness. The system should be able to do justice to the variety of disciplines and developments in research; and it should reflect the differences in research practices.

At the end of this report, the committee suggests a simplification of the current national evaluation system in the Netherlands, the so-called Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). The Committee proposes a concise list of ten evaluation categories that together should be appropriate to meet the two major concerns mentioned above. For each category, the Committee advises a minimum number of indicators and / or a maximum amount of text, in order not to overburden the research group or the evaluation committee.

The SEP will be renewed in 2009, and the Royal Netherlands Academy hopes that the suggestions made in this report will be taken into account when designing the new SEP.