Skip to website navigation Skip to article navigation Skip to content

1. Developments in Research Policy

Recognition & Rewards

In November 2019, VSNU, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw published the position paper ‘Room for everyone's talent: towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards of academics’. Whereas previously the emphasis was on numbers of publications and the impact factor of journals, now more weight is given to measures such as quality, image, collaboration, open science and academic leadership. There is also a greater focus on the connection with education and the added value for society. Wessel Meijer, division director for Academic Affairs: “Moreover, the university endorses the greater appreciation of ‘team science’; successful science is often more than the sum of individual achievements.”

The Recognition & Rewards committee started work in the spring, led by Professor of Language Acquisition and Phonology Paula Fikkert. The aim is to give the new rewards system a firm foundation. Fikkert calls the current system unbalanced because of the excessively high status of research compared to teaching and social impact. “This leads to perverse incentives and a hyper-competitive system that overburdens people. This makes the university attractive to only a small group of researchers. More and more people no longer feel at home here. As a result, we are losing talent, especially women. I also saw this in the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) talent committees of which I was a member. We are our own worst enemy.”

‘The system is unbalanced: the status of research is too high compared to that of teaching and social impact’

- Paula Fikkert

The committee has now drafted a discussion paper that will serve as the basis for a broad dialogue in 2021. Fikkert: “Ultimately, it's all about the question of what Radboud University considers to be important. In the long run, a different way of assessing will hopefully lead to a change in culture. To a place that is centred on people and where talented people can develop without being overburdened and have more fun and peace in their work.”

Open Science

Research that is financed with public funds should be accessible to all. Based on this premise, work was done in 2020 to encourage open access publishing and research data management. In addition, increasing attention is being paid to citizen science: citizen participation in the performance of scientific research.

In terms of open access, steps have been taken with ‘You share, we take care’. This project aims to make open access publications available in the Radboud Repository (RR). This will be extended in 2021. The Executive Board has decided to establish the Radboud University Press for open access publications by Radboud scholars. The press will be launched in 2021.

The percentage of open access publications as part of the total number of publications in the RR increased. An additional boost is planned for 2021. Almost 59,000 publications from the university are publicly accessible in their entirety in the RR.

Percentage of open access publications: 73.5

There are now 15 publisher agreements on open access, almost all with medium-sized and large publishers. Part of the deals is that journals must eventually switch to full open access. In addition, the university still co-funds additional initiatives in the field of open access (open science), such as SCOAP3, Open Library of Humanities and arXiv.

59,000 publications in the Radboud Repository

With regard to citizen science, work is being done with, among others, University College London and the Library of Southern Denmark on a Citizen Science counter (including at Radboud University), with associated services for scientists and interested parties who wish to participate in research on a voluntary basis. The award of a grant in 2020 for a living lab in the Ooijpolder, led by Radboud professor Hans de Kroon, is an example of social participation in research.

In the field of research data management (RDM), efforts were made to improve the findability and accessibility of research data. For example, there has been a steady increase in registered and deposited datasets. Furthermore, an RDM project for students has been started, aimed at developing and offering a facility for storing data related to Bachelor’s and Master’s theses. Several research institutes have also started using the Radboud Data Repository to register and archive research data. More institutes will follow in 2021. With regard to the Digital Research Environment (a collaboration between Radboud university medical center, Erasmus MC and UMC Utrecht), steps have been taken in system development and towards setting up a joint help desk for user support.

Quality Assurance

With a revised version of the Radboud Handbook for Research Evaluations, the university has prepared itself for the arrival of a new evaluation method. The Strategy Evaluation Protocol (SEP), which will be in place from January 2021, prescribes how research units will be evaluated every six years and which themes should be addressed. In addition, work has begun on improving management information about research to better support self-evaluations and research visits.

Three external reviews from 2019 were completed in 2020: those of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, the Institute for Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies (PTR), and the Institute for Management Research (IMR). Two external reviews will be completed in 2021: Sociology and Anthropology and Development Studies (CAOS) and the Radboud Business Law Institute (OOR).

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

The assessment of this institute was very positive: both the whole and the four themes were rated as ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’. The five research themes of Radboud university medical center – which organisationally fall under the Donders Institute – were assessed as ‘good’ to ‘excellent’. Of particular value for improvement are the recommendations about the reorganisation of the research themes, as well as the development of a social impact strategy.

Institute for Management Research

This institute, too, received a very positive assessment overall. The recommendations provide a good foundation for further improvement of the quality of research, especially the differentiation in research time, the strengthening of funding from government agencies and contract funding, and a more strategic and consistent management of the research agenda. Partly on the basis of the evaluation, the university’s administration has agreed to the development of the desired establishment of a research Master’s programme.

Institute for Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies

This institute also received a very good assessment. The quality of its publications is high and its social relevance is excellent, partly thanks to the strong valorisation strategy and the Radboud Reflects programme. However, the committee made several recommendations: place more emphasis on first-class journals, based on a clear publication strategy; strengthen the organisational structure; improve the cooperation between the institute centres; and formulate a future vision on the research agenda, as good preparation for external developments.