New Data, New Knowledge? Infrastructures of Performance Measurement in Science (NEDA)

Start of the project: 01-Nov-2020 - End of the project: 31-Oct-2023

In cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), the BMBF-funded junior research group is investigating the increasing technical possibilities of data production and data assessment of scientific performance and their consequences for the understanding of scientific practice.

Research information and the associated measurement of performance are an important factor in the debate on quality assurance in science. However, the generation of empirically proven knowledge about research performance is ridden with prerequisites. Technical infrastructures are increasingly being used for this purpose - above all by commercial providers - which transform existing data into databases and make instruments available which are intended to generate relevant knowledge for the governance of science.

The project focuses on the development of these "research analytics". It examines the question of which data are used in what ways. The understanding of scientific practice that is inscribed in these continuously developing technical infrastructures of data production and data assessment is analysed.

The project goes beyond a critique of the construction and use of bibliometric databases and their indicators. Instead, it looks at the technical infrastructures of scientific performance measurement as a whole and asks how the data production and usage infrastructures help to shape what can be observed and evaluated as scientific performance.

The project is divided into a qualitative and a quantitative sub-project. In the quantitative sub-project at the German Centre for Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW), bibliometric analyses are conducted via the infrastructure of the Competence Centre for Bibliometrics to investigate how and in what ways the infrastructures of data providers differ in their statements on scientific performance.

The qualitative sub-project at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities focuses on the user orientation of the providers of these infrastructures by analysing the particular usage scenarios offered to potential users.

Taken together, the aim of the project is to examine the assumptions made in the databases and corresponding usage instruments about what constitutes scientific performance.

Lead Researcher

Stephan Stahlschmidt
Dr. Stephan Stahlschmidt Lead Researcher +49 30 2064177-18

External Contact

Dr. Anne K. Krüger

Funded by

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

In cooperation with

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften