The application of the "universal" excellence in "peripheral" countries

2016 Annual Conference of the European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (EU-SPRI)
This paper explores the application of “excellence” policies in “peripheral” contexts, that is, in geographical, cognitive or social spaces that are somehow marginal to or marginalised from the centres of scientific activity. The discourse on excellence rests on the implicit assumption that there is an objective property of research, quality or excellence, which can be universally captured. However, the universal “gold standards” for excellence are taken from research carried out in prestigious centres of academic activity, generally in most developed countries and regions. As a results, excellence tends to reflect practices relevant in dominant contexts --i.e. in the hegemonic countries, languages, gender, disciplines, etc.--, but that are often not present or adequate in peripheral contexts. It follows that scholarly activities in these peripheral contexts are perceived as less excellence, as well as “local”, and further marginalised.
Ismael Ràfols, Jordi Molas-Gallart