Is the panel fair? Evaluating panel compositions through network analysis. The case of research assessments in Italy

peter.suber's bookmarks 2024-05-17


Abstract:  In research evaluation, the fair representation of panels is usually defined in terms of observable characteristics of scholars such as gender or affiliations. An an empirical strategy is proposed for exploring hidden connections between panellists such that, despite the respect of formal requirements, the panel could be considered alike as unfair with respect to the representation of diversity of research approaches and methodologies. The case study regards the three panels selected to evaluate research in economics, statistics and business during the Italian research assessment exercises. The first two panels were appointed directly by the governmental agency responsible for the evaluation, while the third was randomly selected. Hence the third panel can be considered as a control for evaluating about the fairness of the others. The fair representation is explored by comparing the networks of panellists based on their co-authorship relations, the networks based on journals in which they published and the networks based on their affiliated institutions (universities, research centres and newspapers). The results show that the members of the first two panels had connections much higher than the members of the control group. Hence the composition of the first two panels should be considered as unfair, as the results of the research assessments.



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oa.assessment oa.italy

Date tagged:

05/17/2024, 10:53

Date published:

05/17/2024, 06:53