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Research Evaluation 19, 5 (2010) 347-360
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The controversial policies of journal ratings: evaluating social sciences and humanities
David Pontille 1, 2, Didier Torny 3
(12/2010)

In a growing number of countries, governments and public agencies seek to systematically assess the scientific outputs of their universities and research institutions. Bibliometrics indicators and peer review are regularly used for this purpose, and their advantages and biases are discussed in a wide range of literature. This article examines how three different national organisations (AERES, ERA, ERIH) produce journal ratings as an alternative assessment tool, which is particularly targeted for social sciences and humanities. After setting out the organisational context in which these journal ratings emerged, the analysis highlights the main steps of their production, the criticism they received after publication, especially from journals, and the changes made during the ensuing revision process. The particular tensions of a tool designed as both a political instrument and a scientific apparatus are also discussed.
1 :  Anthropologie de l'Ecriture/Equipe IIAC
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) – CNRS : UMR8177
2 :  Institut Interdisciplinaire d'Anthropologie du Contemporain (IIAC)
CNRS : UMR8177 – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)
3 :  Risques, Travail, Marchés, Etat (RiTME)
Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) : UR1216
Sciences de l'Homme et Société/Sociologie
scientific evaluation – journals – bibliometrics – ratings – peer review – quality journals – policy tools – AERES – ERIH – ERA
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