The evaluation of research excellence and the dynamics of knowledge production in the humanities: The case of History in Spain

Carolina Cañibano, Immaculada Vilardell, Carmen Corona, Carlos Benito-Amat
Science and Public Policy

This article addresses how the progressive development of a strong research evaluation system in Spain has affected research practices in two highly prestigious university departments in History. Our research finds that researchers perceive that evaluation mechanisms relying on bibliometric indicators pressure them to publish more and to publish in international indexed journals. Researchers feel the time available to develop their research before publishing their results has been reduced, which does not allow them to address research questions with the former rigour and to fully exploit information sources. The pressure is also perceived as an obstacle to conceiv-ing long-term intellectual projects. The strong evaluation culture and its accompanying mechan-isms are thus perceived as directly undermining the fundamental pillars on which the academic prestige of these departments was built, namely originality, scientific rigour and methodological innovations.