Short-term Incentives of Research Evaluations: Evidence from the UK Research Excellence Framework

59 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2017 Last revised: 13 Jan 2023

See all articles by Moqi Groen-Xu

Moqi Groen-Xu

Queen Mary University of London

Gregor Boes

King’s College London

Pedro A. Teixeira

Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science

Thomas Voigt

Independent

Bernhard Knapp

UIC Barcelona; University of Oxford

Date Written: January 6, 2021

Abstract

We document incentive effects of the evaluation deadlines in the UK's performance-based research funding system. Studying 3,597,272 publications by UK researchers, we find that publications just before assessment deadlines obtain substantially fewer citations and are published in venues with lower impact factors. These trends reverse abruptly after the deadlines.
We discuss different factors that contribute to this observation and provide evidence that evaluation deadlines are likely to set incentives against investment in research quality and long-term topics.
We conclude that where such shifts in research incentives are not intended, they might require balancing by additional incentives for exploratory, long-term oriented research.

Keywords: research funding systems ,evaluation effects ,economics of science ,incentives , university

JEL Classification: D82, I23, I28, O38

Suggested Citation

Groen-Xu, Moqi and Boes, Gregor and Teixeira, Pedro Alexandre and Voigt, Thomas and Knapp, Bernhard, Short-term Incentives of Research Evaluations: Evidence from the UK Research Excellence Framework (January 6, 2021). Research Policy, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3083692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3083692

Moqi Groen-Xu (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Gregor Boes

King’s College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Pedro Alexandre Teixeira

Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science ( email )

14195 Berlin
Germany

Thomas Voigt

Independent ( email )

Bernhard Knapp

UIC Barcelona; University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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