Does monitoring performance act as an incentive for improving research performance? National and organizational level analysis of Finnish universities

Laura Himanen, Hanna-Mari Puuska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Monitoring of research performance, especially performance-based allocation of research funding inevitably creates intended and unintended incentives for universities. In this article, we study if monitoring performance acts as an incentive for improved research performance by scrutinizing the development of two essential indicators of Finnish universities' research performance, publication output, and international competitive research funding at both national and organizational level, by combining several statistical data sources. The results are reflected to the recent changes in Finnish universities' national funding model as well as the organizational research assessment performed in 12 universities between the years 2009 and 2019. Based on our analysis, we suggest that the incentives brought on by national and organizational level actions have not hindered the positive development in the two elements of research performance as seen in the data, and in fact the introduction of an indicator that emphasizes the quality of publication channels to the university funding model has incentivized positive development in publication counts. Universities' research assessments seem to have no systematic influence on the developments of the two indicators under scrutiny. However, according to our analysis, research assessments in Finnish universities are conducted first and foremost for developmental reasons, so it is likely that possible changes in research performance happen during a much longer period than what our data cover.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-248
Number of pages13
JournalRESEARCH EVALUATION
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • incentives
  • performance indicators
  • performance-based funding
  • research evaluation
  • research performance

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences

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