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Evaluation for the allocation of university research project funding: Can rules improve the peer review?

Emanuela Reale and Antonio Zinilli

Research Evaluation, 2017, vol. 26, issue 3, 190-198

Abstract: Evaluation for the allocation of project-funding schemes devoted to sustain academic research often undergoes changes of the rules for the ex-ante selection, which are supposed to improve the capability of peer review to select the best proposals. How modifications of the rules realize a more accountable evaluation result? Do the changes suggest an improved alignment with the program’s intended objectives? The article addresses these questions investigating Research Project of National Interest, an Italian collaborative project-funding scheme for academic curiosity-driven research through a case study design that provides a description of how the changes of the ex-ante evaluation process were implemented in practice. The results show that when government tries to steer the peer-review process by imposing an increasing number of rules to structure the debate among peers and make it more accountable, the peer-review practices remain largely impervious to the change.

Keywords: peer review; project funding; evaluation; university funding. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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