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Evaluating the societal quality of research carried out by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Working paper | 26-08-2014
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The evaluation of the societal quality of research is an important issue for PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency as its mission is to provide policy relevant knowledge. In view of the international audit of PBL in 2012, the most important question that arose was what method could be used to measure the societal quality of PBL’s research. PBL used the Standard Evaluation Protocol for the Dutch universities (produced by KNAW, VSNU, NWO and HBO-Raad), the ERiC Guide included. The ERiC Guide specifically provides a method for the evaluation of the societal quality of research, taking the mission of the institute into account.

Measuring the societal quality of research is not a matter of routine. Various methodological problems occur with regard to the assessment of the societal quality of research. Chosing the ERiC method means one has to select indicators that give a good impression of the societal quality of research by PBL. Some indicators are rather difficult to measure or assess, That is why a contextual response analysis has been carried out to get additional information. Most important are the experiences we had when applying the ERiC method and the things we learned. Both from the point of view of PBL as well as from the point of view of the (secretary of the) audit committee.

Furthermore, possible refinements of indicators are discussed and a possible alternative evaluation method. Both however should be critically examined for their practicality in view of future audits. Finally, we comprehensively present our conclusions which can be used for future research evaluations.

Author(s)Bert de Wit, Femke Merkx
Publication date26-08-2014
LanguageEnglish