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Monitoring: Berlin Science Survey


In February 2018, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin joined forces to form the Berlin University Alliance with the aim of developing Berlin into an integrated research environment and a leading international hub of research. Progress along this path is made transparent and visible as part of a monitoring process. To this end, targeted information is gathered, data collected, and indicators developed. The focus is on systemic effects, the question of structural transformations that can be observed over time, and aspects relevant to the research area. In terms of methodology, monitoring relies on a multi-data, multi-method and multi-stakeholder approach. BUA-funded projects develop observational tools that are specifically geared toward continuous monitoring.

Berlin Science Survey

Central to the project is the Berlin Science Survey, which deals with the change of research culture in the Berlin area. The aim is to record the experiences and perspectives of scientists on various topics relevant to science policy and to develop suitable indicators for the research culture(s). As part of the project, the Berlin Science Survey will be expanded into a trend study, which will survey Berlin scientists* about their research practices and attitudes towards different aspects of their work in a 2-year cycle. The survey enables a stocktaking and regular opinion surveys on the situation of the Berlin research area as well as an observation of dynamics and changes over time. The results will be introduced into the science policy discourse. In this way, a participatory research culture is to be developed, which itself serves as an instrument of quality assurance.

Pilot Study in Bibliometrics

Bibliometric analyses are another aspect of the monitoring. Despite all criticism and limitations, they constitute a suitable and widely used approach to observe scientific performance and its dynamics in organizations. Scientific publications in professional journals are an important output, though not the only output of research activities. Indicators generated with bibliometric data provide information about these research activities and their perception by the scientific community ("performance" dimension). In particular, they allow analyses over time as well as benchmarking with selected comparison institutions and regions and are thus suitable for continuous monitoring.

The scope of the analyses clearly goes beyond a mere observation of the numerical change in the volume of publications. Bibliometric data also facilitates monitoring of the professional profiles of the units of study and their changes, and allows interested stakeholders to network with each other. They are therefore also suitable for monitoring structural changes: Bibliometric analyses thus provide an appropriate approach for observing both the development of thematic profiles (“research profile” dimension) and the desired networking of relevant stakeholders in the Berlin research environment (dimensions “research cooperation and networking” as well as “knowledge transfer and exchange”) over time and in comparison to other stakeholders (institutions or even regions).

In the first phase of the “Pilot Study in Bibliometrics”, the methodological procedure was developed and assessed, and the indicators suitable for the specific target dimensions were selected.