Research universities and research assessment
League of European Research Universities
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Should university research be assessed? LERU's view is that university assessment or evaluation is an important and integral part of the university enterprise. Recognising all the arguments for and against, it wishes to contribute the views of research-intensive universities to achieve a better understanding of research assessment. In recent years we have witnessed an explosion of many types of internal and external research assessments for a variety of users and for a range of purposes, in which universities may choose or are obliged to engage. LERU feels therefore that a need has arisen to analyse what LERU universities consider to be the rationale for assessment, the internal and external drivers, the users and usages, the "pros and cons" and pitfalls, the variety of metrics used, different national and international models and emerging trends such as the increasingly important area of "impact". The paper also briefly considers international rankings of universities because, although assessment and rankings serve distinct purposes, some of the metrics used overlap. This is especially timely with regard to the development and implementation of U-Multirank by the European Commission. The paper concludes with recommendations for the users of research assessment, namely universities and researchers themselves, as well as governments, policy makers and funders of research.