Journal Article

Accountability, performance assessment, and evaluation: Policy pressures and responses from research councils

Creso M. Sá, Andrew Kretz and Kristjan Sigurdson

in Research Evaluation

Volume 22, issue 2, pages 105-117
Published in print June 2013 | ISSN: 0958-2029
Published online January 2013 | e-ISSN: 1471-5449 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvs041
Accountability, performance assessment, and evaluation: Policy pressures and responses from research councils

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This study identifies contemporary government accountability requirements impacting research councils in North America and Europe and investigates how councils deal with such demands. This investigation is set against the background of rising policy frameworks stressing public sector accountability that have led many national governments to enact legislation requiring public agencies to collect more performance information and tie it to decision-making. Through documentary analysis and interviews with informants at several research councils we clarify how broader policy trends are reflected in the operation of public institutions that provide critical support for academic science. In addition to legislation cast broadly to regulate the activities of all government agencies, numerous regulations and guidelines have been targeted specifically at science and technology (S&T) activities. Regulations on S&T expenditures in general and on research councils more specifically include efforts to develop new metrics specific to science-based or innovation-based outcomes, to enhance the use of indicators in decision-making, to focus on tracing the broad impacts of programs, to increase the frequency of reporting, and to make agencies more responsive to business and public interests.

Keywords: accountability; performance assessment; research evaluation; research councils; research funding agencies; science policy

Journal Article.  8879 words. 

Subjects: Research Methods ; Biological Sciences ; Knowledge Management ; Social Research and Statistics

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