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Counting Quality?: The Czech Performance-Based Research Funding System

Good, B   Vermeulen, N   Tiefenthaler, B   Arnold, E

Research Evaluation   24 (2) 91-105

DOI: 10.1093/reseval/rvu035

February 2015   (Early online date February 2015)

After the fall of the Iron Curtain and a subsequent period of restructuring the research and innovation system, the Czech Republic has introduced a performance-based research funding system, commonly known as the Evaluation Methodology. The Evaluation Methodology is purely quantitative and focused solely on research outputs (publications, patents, prototypes, etc.) to determine the amount of institutional funding for research organizations. While aiming to depersonalize and depoliticize the allocation of institutional funding in the research system, improve research productivity, and safeguard accountability, we argue that the Evaluation Methodology has in fact become a negative example of a performance-based research funding system. Our analysis of the Evaluation Methodology shows that it has introduced considerable instability and unpredictability in the Czech research system, making strategic planning for research organizations difficult. The article contributes to a growing body of literature on research evaluation and performance-based research funding systems, discussing the impacts of introducing such systems in countries including the UK, Spain, Slovakia, Hong Kong, Australia, Poland, Italy, New Zealand, Flanders, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The Czech case provides new insights in the interactions between politico-economic regimes and research policy, while also directing the attention of research policy scholars to significant developments in Central and Eastern European countries.