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Ethics Week 2019 - Kick-Off Session "Research that Counts: can research assessments take account of more than just publications?"

maandag, 2 december, 2019 - 12:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Research events
02 629 21 49


‘Publish or perish’ has for many years been the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of academic researchers.
However, a more accurate, and perhaps more disturbing slogan might be ‘Perform or perish’: researchers are held to account for their activities by a limited range of quantitative indicators, such as journal impact factors, that put them under pressure to perform.
Is this really the best way for a university to contribute to a better society? 

This session is a chance for the VUB community to reflect on quantitative indicators, and ask critical questions about their role in our academic life. The session provides an opportunity to reflect on the key questions around evaluation of research outputs: 

  • Can we evaluate the true worth of scientific research? What do core concepts like excellent and relevant mean, and are they properly taken up in quantitative criteria? 
  • What effects do evaluation systems have on research itself? How can evaluation contribute to encouraging research that is valuable and innovative, and which is able to ask challenging questions? 
  • Is quantitative evaluation really the best way to evaluate science? Can we do without quantitative evaluation, or indeed without evaluation altogether? 
  • What can we do about all this? What alternatives to the current evaluation models exist, and how much leeway does a university such as the VUB have to implement alternative models? 


  • Koen Verlaeckt (VLIR - Flemish Interuniversity Council)
  • Johan Hanssens (EWI - Flemish Department for Economy, Science and Innovation)
  • Thed van Leeuwen (Centre for Science and Technology Studies, University of Leiden)
  • Geoffrey Aerts (Research Group Business Technology and Operations)



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