22 SES 13 A, Internationalisation Strategies and Performativity
The European Union is committed to the goal of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world, evident in the European knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation. Higher education is positioned as contributing directly to increased research and development capacity, innovation, and the development of human capital, as well as economic competitiveness (EC 2010). While higher education has traditionally played important roles in the production of knowledge and the training of professional élites (Shattock, 2009), this new responsibility for adding economic value has resulted in higher education becoming a focus for sustained reform. Higher education has been subject to reform of funding and governance, including the introduction of quasi-market conditions, particularly around research funding and competition for student income, and financial diversification through recruitment of international students; the reduction in direct funding from governments promoting a diversification of income streams; government steering of research priorities to meet economic needs, specifically prioritizing certain STEM areas that are perceived to be close to the market; government support for increased participation in higher education as part of an economic strategy to maximize the stock of human capital in aid of securing economic competitive advantage in a global economy; the replacement of professional or collegiate regulation of academic work by institutional regulation; closer management of academic labour; and the promotion of entrepreneurial activity (Amaral, et. al., 2009; Marginson & Wende, 2007; Musselin, 2005). While these are global trends, within Europe they converge with the development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA). Academic work generally is therefore increasingly framed by Government steering of research priorities and the need to produce data for departmental and institutional performance indicators and benchmarking exercises, as well as reorient academic practice in line with these measures. There are increasing concerns about the distorting effects of this kind of research performativity, especially national and institutional responses to rankings and the publication metrics.
One key challenge is to assess how such institutional responses structure academic practice, impact on academic identity, the historically formed modes of knowledge production and dissemination in a number of disciplinary fields, and the ways in which they transform the nature of knowledge production itself. However, the new systems of status distribution introduced by this research performativity appear to reproduce and entrench academic hierarchies, since knowledge production is largely concentrated in particular geo-political locations, mostly the United Kingdom and the United States. Furthermore, these processes reinforce academic stratification globally. Rankings reinforce the advantages of leading institutions and regional centres of higher education, intensifying the flow of economic and human capital to these institutions and regions in the form of endowments, research funding, and high-status academics and research students (Marginson, 2016). Research selectivity, therefore, produces and reinforces geographical and institutional hierarchies. It is important to establish how research selectivity impacts in the non-core regions and institutions of European higher education, as well as the Global South.
Research agendas on research performativity need to avoid reproducing and reinforcing these institutional, regional, and linguistic hierarchies. The non-core areas of European higher education are often absent from dominant critiques of contemporary research performativity, and limited recognition is given to issues of the linguistic impact of rankings and publication metrics (Duszak & Lewkowicz, 2008). Also, limited attention is given to the impact on modes of knowledge, theories, and intellectual traditions in the non-core regions of Europe or the Global South. Furthermore, there is a need to examine how these processes interact with systems of academic recruitment and promotion, gender, linguistic, and ethnic equality.
This paper draws on a recent COST Action submission that aims is to build a research network focused on the varied ways that European, national, and institutional systems of research performance management impact upon academic practice and identity, specifically on the more peripheral European higher education systems. The network of proposers comprises 37 scholars from 19 countries (Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey), with the majority being women and early career researchers. This COST Action submission places emphasis on linguistic, disciplinary, and epistemological impacts. The proposal and this paper were developed using a collaborative process. Various iterations were reviewed by participants to ensure that a) the most important policy documents and academic debates were identified, b) that the emerging emphasis on linguistic, disciplinary, and epistemic impact was sufficient, and c) that research from or about the non-core regions of Europe was fairly represented. Therefore, this paper draws primarily on three sets of data. First, it draws on a review of European (European Commission, etc.) and national policy documents related to research, higher education governance and quality assurance. This provides information on the explicit and intended policy direction for European higher education. Second, a review of key academic research into contemporary higher education, especially in relation to rankings, publication metrics, and research performativity. This highlight the dominant themes and concerns of academic discourse in this area. Third, a review of academic literature from or explicitly concerning rankings, publication metrics, and research performativity in non-core European regions. This provides a comparative set of themes and concerns related to these higher education systems. This review of literature forms a basis for proposing a research agenda that gives attention to the impact of rankings, publication metrics, and research performativity on the non-core regions of Europe.
This paper puts forward the case for a sustained research agenda that focuses specifically on the non-core regions of Europe, essential if we are to have a proper understanding of the impact of research performativity on academic practice and identity: " Publication metrics rely upon a small number of bibliometric databases operated by the major academic publishers. In what ways do these have a determining effect on the capacity of academics, HEIs, higher education systems, and regions to participate equitably in the systems of international exchange and comparison? This includes inquiring into how research performativity influences choice of research topic, what to write, and where to publish (Elton, 2000; Linkova, 2014; Wouters et. al. 2015); and a methodological tendency to privilege élite institutions (Marginson, 2016; Rauhvargers, 2013). While recent research has focused on the way women are disadvantaged in recruitment, promotion, and research visibility (EC 2011), less attention has been paid to the intersection of gender and research selectivity in the non-core regions of the EHEA. These processes appear to intersect with the high exodus of talented academics from the non-core regions of the EHEA (see Linkova & Henderson 2003). " If research performativity imposes a universal standard that reflects the dominance of certain forms of knowledge, knowledge production and dissemination, how is this affecting the development and dissemination of knowledge locally; and how does this influence systems of staff recruitment and professional advancement? This includes the underrepresentation of the arts, humanities and some areas of the social sciences, and the almost invisibility of non-English language publications, in rankings and publication metrics (Duszak and Lewkowicz, 2008; Medgyes and Kaplan 1992; Rauhvargers, 2013; Vogopoulou, et. al., 2015; Waltman et. al., 2012).
Amaral, A. et. al. (Eds.) (2009) European Integration and the Governance of Higher Education and Research. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. Duszak, A., & Lewkowicz, J. (2008). Publishing academic texts in English: A Polish perspective. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7(2), 108-120. Elton, L. (2000) The UK Research Assessment Exercise: Unintended Consequences. Higher Education Quarterly, 54(3): 274-283. European Commission (2010) Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. (COM(2010) 2020 final). Brussels: EC. European Commission (2011) Structural change in research institutions: Enhancing excellence, gender equality and efficiency in research and innovation. Retrieved July 15, 2017, from http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/structural-changes-final-report_en.pdf Linková, M. (2014) Unable to resist: Researcher responses to research assessment in the Czech Republic. Human Affairs, 24(1): 78-88. Linková, M. & Henderson, L. (2003) Nurturing or Frustrating Ambition? The position of young researchers in Central and Eastern Europe. In Proceedings on the Enwise workshop on young scientists. Prague, April. Retrieved July 15, 2017, www. cec-wys. org/prilohy/aeb76b97/Nurturing% 20or% 20frustrating% 20ambition. pdf. Marginson, S. (2016) Higher Education and the Common Good. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Marginson, S. & M. van der Wende (2007) "Globalisation and Higher Education", OECD Education Working Papers, No. 8, OECD Publishing: Paris. Medgyes, P., & Kaplan, R. B. (1992). Discourse in a foreign language: The example of Hungarian scholars. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 98(1), 67-100. Musselin, C. (2005), European Academic Labour Markets in Transition, Higher Education, 49(1): 135-154. Rauhvargers, A. (2013). Global university rankings and their impact: Report II. Brussels: European University Association. Shattock, M. (Ed) (2009) Entrepreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Economy: Diversification and Organizational change in European Higher Education. Maidenhead: Open University Press & Society for Research in to Higher Education. Vogopoulou, A., Sarakinioti, A. & Tsatsaroni, A. (2015). Globalisation, Internationalisation and the English Language in Greek Higher Education. Paper presented at the European Education Research Association Conference, Budapest, 8 - 11 September 2015. Waltman, L. et. al. (2012), The Leiden ranking 2011/2012: Data collection, indicators, and interpretation. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(12): 2419-2432. Wouters, P. et al. (2015) The Metric Tide: Literature Review (Supplementary Report I to the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management). London: HEFCE.
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