Indicators to measure Swedish research

The Swedish Research Council published a report on April 9th looking at how to measure the progress of Sweden’s national research goals. These were outlined in a government bill in 2016 (2016/17:50):

The goal for research policy is for Sweden to be one of the world’s foremost research and innovation countries and a leading knowledge nation, where high quality research, higher education and innovation leads to society’s development and welfare, the business sector’s competitiveness and responds to the societal challenges we face, both in Sweden and around the world.

But how can progress on this goal be measured? The Swedish Research Council’s report presents several indicators that can be used to assess how well these goals are met during the 10-year period the government has mandated for the following:

  • Sweden should be an appealing country for investment in research and development. The public and private investments in research and development should exceed the EU targets.
  • There should be an overall increase in research quality, and equality should improve.
  • Collaboration and cooperation with society should improve.

A summary of the indicators that will be used come from the Swedish Research Council’s report (in Swedish):

Indicators for the goal ”Sweden should be an appealing country for investment in research and development”:

  • improvement in funding for research and development in Sweden as a part of the GNP
  • funding from abroad, as well as the distribution of funding from the government, business, and other national sources

INdicators for the goal ”There should be an overall increase in research quality, and equality should improve”:

  • the ratio of highly cited publications
  • funding from EU’s Horizon 2020 programme
  • division between men and women in different employment categories
  • the gender division among newly hired professors and lecturers
  • the gender division among new PhDs
  • the proportion of women and men who have made professor within twelve years of getting their PhD

Indicators for the goal ”Collaboration and cooperation with society should improve”:

  • funding in the form of financial support and tenders to universities from all areas of society, as well as collaborations on innovation
  • split posts, where university staff also have contracts with non-higher education institutions
  • joint publications, with authors both from higher education institutions and non-higher education institutions
  • the percentage of the population that has a higher education degree
  • the percentage of the Swedish scientific publications that are available with open access

The Swedish Research Council has said that these indicators will only be used to measure progress on the national level, and won’t be used to compare higher education institutions or to distribute funding.

It’s good to see open access included in the indicators of measure of engagement with society.

Another measure mentioned in the report is bibliometrics, and there it’s reassuring to see that the authors do seem to have some insight into the flaws and limitations of bibliometrics.

The report in its entirety is only available in Swedish at the moment, and can be downloaded here: Vetenskapsrådet: Redovisning av regeringsuppdrag att utveckla uppföljning av svensk forskning

Text: Signe Wulund

Researchers’ views on Science Communication and Open Science

Last week Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science), a Swedish non-profit acting to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the public, released an interesting report together with Vetenskapsrådet. The report deals with Researchers’ views on Science Communication and Open Science, and is the result of comprehensive interviews with researchers, science communicators and research funders in Sweden.

Some of the results include:

  • science communication is seen as important, particularly for democratic reasons
  • the biggest obstacle is lack of time and the fact that it isn’t seen as a merit
  • researchers experience positive support from their colleagues when they do science communication outside of academia
  • researchers rarely use social media for science communication
  • open science is an unfamiliar term for many, who instead associate it with open access (of research publications)

The report and news post about it are currently only available in Swedish.

Public & Science news post about the report (Swedish)
Full text of the report (Swedish)

The results of the report were presented and discussed at a seminar at Vetenskapsrådet on March 23rd 2018. A recording of the seminar (held in Swedish) is available here:

Text: Signe Wulund

3/3 2018 – Open Data Day

March 3rd Open Data Day will be celebrated around the world for the 8th time running. There are a lot of interesting examples of activities and events listed in the blog post Open Data Day 2018: what do we celebrate and why?

There you can read about some of the projects from last year’s Open Data Day. This includes researchers and scientists in Colombia getting together around data to look at the local air quality and how it could be improved. There was also an event in Nepal focused on the problem of the lack of information for the roughly 10% of the population currently engaged in migrant work abroad and their families in Nepal.

So there will be a lot of interesting reading available throughout the day, both on websites and on Twitter under the hashtag #OpenDataDay.

When you talk about open access to research data the focus is often on the exact terminology, routines, and how it affects science in general. For today’s Open Science Day we wanted to give you a few examples of a more personal experience of open data:

Why are we working so hard to open up science? A personal story.
Brian Nosek, professor at the University of Virginia and co-founder of The Center for Open Science writes about cancer, medical journals, and what happens when the information you need in a crisis is behind lock and key.

Gustav Nilsonne held a presentation in Swedish about his research group’s experience with research data, both open and not: Öppna, slutna och dolda data

He previously wrote a piece on the experience in English in The BMJ:

Gustav Nilsonne: Towards an ecosystem for open data

Text: Signe Wulund

New National Library ordinance emphasizes research

March 1st 2018 is an exciting date for Swedish research. That’s when the the government’s new ordinance to the National Library of Sweden (NLS) comes into effect. In the new ordinance there is a much greater emphasis research support than before.

Part of the first paragraph in the new ordinance is that the NLS shall “further the quality of Swedish research”. Another new addition is that the government now expects the NLS to “provide data that presents a comprehensive overview of Swedish scientific publications”.

The work on this comprehensive overview of scientific publications has already begun, even though we’re not quite at March 1st yet. The NLS is co-arranging workshops this February to evaluate and develop the national publication database SwePub. They are particularly looking at it from the perspective of Higher Education Institutions. I participated in the workshop in Gothenburg, and thought it resulted in a lot of exciting ideas and suggestions. It’s going to be very interesting to see what the next steps will be for SwePub.

Text: Signe Wulund

Source (external link):
Stronger focus on research in new ordinance to the National Library