These Guidelines are neither a handbook on evaluation, nor a manual on how to evaluate, but a guide for the development, adaptation or assessment of evaluation methods. They are a reference and a guide of good practice about building a specific guide in a given situation.
This page is aimed at the author(s) of a specific guide: in the present case a guide for evaluating researchers and research teams. The specific guide's authors will pick from this material what is relevant for their needs and situation.
The approach to evaluation adopted here focuses initially on the evaluation of individual researchers around whom most of the discussion by the evaluators will revolve. The evaluation of research team will in the first place use similar criteria, but a number of dimensions typical for a group (department, institute, ad hoc research group) will also be considered.
Importance of the context
This is emphasised in the page on evaluation of individual researchers: the researcher's environment.
Objectives of evaluating researchers or research teams
The authors of a specific guide must very explicitly and very clearly formulate the objectives of evaluation to which their guide responds. What is it that the evaluator will want to know in this specific case? What will be done with the answers?
But in any case evaluating researchers will focus on his/her scientific production. The same is true for evaluating a research team, with in addition aspects linked to the team as such.
The objectives of evaluation are examined in detail below in the page on evaluation of individual researchers. They will obviously depend on whether senior or junior researchers are evaluated; or research teams; or whether the evaluation is ex ante or ex post.
The formulation of the objectives of evaluation will also depend on the characteristics of the person or of the group, on the scientific environment as well as the ecological environment, and on specific ethical considerations, inasmuch as here people are directly concerned.
Strengthening of research capacity
One of the main long term objectives of the present Guidelines is to eventually contribute to strengthening the research capacity of researchers and institutions. The present page should be used keeping in mind this consideration.
Ranking of teams and institutions
This issue is not a basic concern of the present Guidelines, but it will be alluded to in the page on the evaluation of research teams, covering only the ranking of teams in a given discipline.
The justification for mentioning it here is that ranking exercises have to some extent contributed to clarifying certain dimensions and/or evaluation procedures.