$1bn spent on the ‘disappointing exercise’ of research performance

“More than $1 billion is spent worldwide in the attempt to measure and plan research but the exercise is cumbersome and the result can be disappointing, according to Jay Katzen of publisher Elsevier. Mr Katzen, visiting Canberra for a research excellence forum last week, said an international survey by his firm showed how difficult it was for universities to get a clear and consistent picture of research performance. “We estimate roughly $US900 million ($1.08 billion) globally is spent on performance measurement and planning activities,” he told the HES. “Although about 60 per cent of the respondents had specific departments that were focused on this activity, it was very manual labour intensive.” Mr Katzen, Elsevier’s Amsterdam-based managing director of academic and government products, said universities struggled to collect research data in a consistent form that would allow comparisons – at an individual, departmental and institutional level – with collaborators and competitors. It’s almost impossible just to figure out how you’re doing,” he said.” (more)

[Bernard Lane. Australian Higher Education, 8 September]

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