Quality indicators in the humanities

The Academy is proposing a new system of quality indicators specifically for the humanities.

There is a pressing need for such a system because those whose task it is to assess the quality of research generally apply methods that are in fact inappropriate to studies in the humanities. Many of those methods are based on articles and citations in journals within the Web of Science; these mainly concern the natural sciences and life sciences and are in English. Moreover, assessment takes no account of books or of the contribution made by research to social issues and discussion about them.
At the request of the Committee for the National Plan for the Future of the Humanities (the “Cohen Committee”), an Academy Committee is now proposing a system of quality indicators that will be appropriate to the humanities. It is doing so in the light of an international survey and consultation with those working in the field.
The report has been drawn up by the Committee on Quality Indicators in the Humanities, which is chaired by Keimpe Algra, Professor of the History of Classical and Medieval Philosophy at Utrecht University.

Activities and schedule

The proposed system will be subjected to practical testing over the next few months by the Academy’s Meertens Institute and Groningen University’s Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG). A workshop based on the results of these pilots will take place in November 2011 at which experts will discuss the system. A final report will be published early in 2012.

Period covered