Research evaluation delivers good news

The number of citations in scientific journals to research done at the University of Helsinki clearly exceeds the international average. A recent survey indicates that research results from the University of Helsinki also appear in high standard publications.

Research evaluation delivers good news

– It is wonderful to see that the large number of references is not only due to a few researchers, but that we have a comprehensive group of leading researchers, says Johanna Björkroth, Vice-Rector of the University of Helsinki.

The information is based on a bibliometric analysis by Leiden University, which investigated the visibility of the University of Helsinki, with a particular focus on fields outside social sciences and the humanities. The impact of the University of Helsinki was exceptionally high, particularly in bioscience publications.

Another analysis, which utilised the journal rankings used in Norway and Australia, found that researchers in social sciences and the humanities also get ample visibility in high-quality publications in their respective sector.

Some 5,900 participants in the evaluation of research

The analyses were part of an evaluation that covered almost 5,900 researchers who worked in the University of Helsinki during 2005–2010. The assessment was performed by five international expert panels. According to the reports, all major disciplines at the University of Helsinki perform leading research at the international level.

The new type of evaluation project included researcher communities that operate across departmental boundaries. All 136 communities that participated in the evaluation included doctoral students, who provided topical information on their experiences.

A survey was completed by 1,200 doctoral students, most of whom said that the most important facilitating factor for the doctoral process is high-quality supervision and the scholarly community. A total of 37 percent of the respondents had considered interrupting their doctoral training at some point. The most satisfied respondents were those who did not prepare their thesis alone but as a member of a research team.

– Based on the results, the University should pay more attention to having well-defined selection processes for doctoral training and to the guidance provided for doctoral students, says Björkroth.

Between 2013 and 2016, the University of Helsinki will allocate €10.5 million in research allowance for the researcher communities that were among the most successful 30% in the five assessment categories.

This reward scheme was especially favourable towards humanities scholars, as no less than 46 per cent of the research communities in the humanities that participated in the evaluation will receive funding. The second most successful group included medical scientists as well as researchers in the biological and environmental sciences.

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Text: Virve Kuusi
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
University of Helsinki, digital communications

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