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Research impact is measured in different ways. However, these indicators are often based on dubious calculations, says Ludo Waltman.
Policymakers try in various ways to evaluate how well researchers and research institutions are performing. How often is a researcher cited by colleagues in the field? How great is his or her impact, as measured in the h-index? And how well is a university performing in comparison with other institutions at home and abroad?
Indicators - Rankings - Calculations - Ludo - Waltman
However, these indicators and rankings are often based on dubious calculations, says Ludo Waltman in his inaugural lecture. This Professor of Quantitative Science Studies argues that university rankings combine incompatible indicators. "These rankings measure in part the size of universities and in part their relative performances in relation to their size. These perspectives are then thrown into one pile. Then no one really understands what exactly the rankings are telling us." Other rankings also juggle the figures.
According to Waltman, the danger is that simplistic indicators will have a negative effect on research policy, for instance if researchers or research institutions are assessed on the basis...
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