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Evaluating Research – the Dutch Way

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 13 April 2 2020

April 2020


The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), together with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has published the Strategy Evaluation Protocol 2021-2027 (SEP). The SEP is designed as a tool for research units to define their own strategy and objectives, and self-assess their progress in that light. It is up to the research units to choose the most relevant indicators for research quality and relevance from the SEP toolkit. The three core criteria of the Strategy Evaluation Protocol are research quality, societal relevance and viability of the research. Open science, PhD-policies, Academic (integrity) culture, and Talent/diversity policies are cross-cutting themes that need to be addressed by all

units. The protocol (in English with a summary in Dutch) covers the assessment process, the role of institutional leadership, the tasks of the research units, and the activities of the external assessment committee in the assessment process. Annexed to the document are a suggested time table, an explanation on Strategy, a sample Terms of Reference for an assessment committee, and a suggested table of contents for a self-evaluation report. The final Annex gives a list and visual overview of the possible indicators, showing clear resemblance to the earlier Standard Evaluation protocol visual. The language of the document continuously is in terms of suggestions, samples and other indicators of the non-prescriptive nature of the approach. VU’s Karen van Oudenhoven – well-known to Auroreans – was part of the team that produced the SEP 2021-2027.

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