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Jordi Molas-Gallart

Funding organisations are increasingly asking academics to show evidence of the economic
and social value generated by their research. These requests have often been
associated with the emergence of a so-called ‘new social contract for research’ and are
related to the implementation of new research evaluation systems. Although the
research evaluation rhetoric is similar across countries and organisations, in practice
evaluation can fulfil very different purposes. Additionally, the assessment of the public
value of research poses different challenges depending on the academic field under
analysis. This paper distinguishes three main research evaluation goals: to inform the
distribution of public resources among competing objectives or performers, to help
improve the implementation of policies and programmes, and to control the use of
public funds. It then argues that assessing the value of research in the arts and humanities
calls for a research methodology capable of providing a fine-grained understanding
of the variety of, often diffuse, ways in which arts and humanities research can generate
value. The methods that we need to do this are better suited to fulfil the improvement
goal of evaluation, and require a ‘formative’ approach to evaluation supporting the social
engagement of academic researchers.

Additional data

Year of publication 2015
Journal Arts & Humanities in Higher Education
DOI 10.1177/1474022214534381
Reference Jordi Molas-Gallart (), . Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 14, p. 111