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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

The central project “Berlin Science Survey” is that which deals with the research culture reform in the Berlin area. The development of a participatory research culture and thus the topics of cooperation, knowledge transfer, open science and, last but not least, research quality are the objects of pursuit. The goal is to capture scientists' perspectives on these topics and to develop appropriate indicators for the research culture(s). As part of the project, the “Berlin Research Panel” will be set up, which will regularly conduct interviews with Berlin scholars and scientists about their research practices and attitudes towards varying aspects of their work. The panel allows for stocktaking and regular opinion polls on the situation in the Berlin research environment, as well as for observation of dynamics and changes over time.

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.