Research System and Science Dynamics

The Research System and Science Dynamics research area is dedicated to analysing developments in the German research system. It not only seeks to describe and localise the German system in an international context, but also to analyse the system&'s dynamics, in particular with regard to the interdependency of different governance, financing, and funding policies.

The Research System and Science Dynamics research area is subdivided into three research units which examine the research system from various perspectives and with different methodological approaches (e.g. scientometric approaches, empirical social research approaches - qualitative as well as quantitative - comparative). The three research units collaborate with the other Research areas of the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) according to their thematic foci.

Research Unit Assessment and Indicators

This research unit deals with basic questions concerning the possibilities of inter-subjectively shared assessments of relevant scientific content. In addition to classic review procedures in journals and conferences, and the funding of personnel and research, that also includes evaluations. The unit also examines the impact of evaluations, rankings/ratings, performance-based budget allocation procedures or voluntary benchmarking-procedures. Thus the unit's research focuses in particular on assessment practices, their organisation and impact on decision-making processes; their effects on the research system are examined in relation to research excellence and quality assurance. This unit also focusses particularly on the development and practical application of indicator-based assessments for the measurement of research performance or budget allocation and examines their impact on the science system. Bibliometrics take a special position in this respect, because on the one hand they are considered a methodological tool; on the other hand bibliometrics represent an independent research area which also uses non-bibliometric procedures to develop and validate bibliometric indicators. The Centre for Bibliometrics funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 2008 and affiliated with the Research System and Science Dynamics research area, provides a qualitative and sustainable dataset for bibliometric analysis. Consequently, studies on current research information systems, their construction, usage and acceptance are located in this research unit.


The research area furthermore offers a wide range of research-based services in the field of bibliometrics. The portfolio includes in particular the development and validation of indicators as well as comparative bibliometric analyses that are particularly useful for monitoring and evaluation processes. We offer analyses of research in terms of productivity and impact, networks and collaborations, research profile and thematic focus as well as analyses of publication strategies by using an advanced set of methodological instruments. Customers' requests are designed individually to fit clients' needs in regard to the object of investigation and dimensions of the analysis. Our analyses thus aim at examining the performance of countries, regions or institutions or disciplines as well as organizational units such as universities, institutes etc. in a comparative regard and over the course of time. Typical fields of application are

  • system- and country analyses
  • analyses for organizations (Higher Education institutions, non-university research centres and compounds)
  • analyses of funding effects

Bibliometric analyses can be executed as stand-alone products or embedded into more extensive evaluation and monitoring activities.

Research Unit Self-Regulation and Funding

Although the principle of self-regulation is essential to the research system, it is at the same time exposed to considerable influences by different stakeholders, due to continual increases in third-party funding and proposal-bound funding of research projects. This research unit therefore addresses the finances of the research system. In addition to total expenditures and actual endowments, particular attention is paid to the terms of the funding allocation. The impact of monopolistic or pluralistic funding systems, strategic or unconditional funding, institutional or proposal-bound, initial or long-term funding as well as university or non-university research institutions are key elements for the assessment of the science system's overall performance. The funding modalities are part of the science system's governance. As individual research institutions become increasingly autonomous, the importance of non-monetary coordination efforts grows steadily. This research unit therefore investigates the system-level ramification of research funding in particular, such as the correlation of an increasingly competitive funding environment and a corresponding surge in research assessment input while grant quotas drop, with the reactions from research funding programs, journal editors, reviewers and researchers, and finally the acceptance of decisions and justifications among researchers. Questions concerning scientific misconduct and the demand for quality assurance are of great importance in this context. This research unit examines such questions with a variety of methods, among them scientists surveys, bibliometric analyses, and not least, collaboration on practical quality assurance procedures.

Research Unit Self-Recruitment and Careers

This research unit takes a look at young researchers and the issues relating to their status in the Science System. Studies such as the ProFile Doctoral Candidates Panel and the EU-funded project RISIS provide information on the different stages of doctoral and postdoctoral education, the course of scientific careers, the motivation of young researchers and the attraction that work in the field of science holds.

In addition, the careers of well-established scientific personnel are analysed in this unit. This includes the examination of recruiting strategies, the structural impact of awards (Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, Reinhart Koselleck Projects, and more), the effects of tenure-track models, chances and limits of the human resource development at higher education institutions, conditions of mobility (reasons and impact), prospects for and obstacles to sectoral mobility (e.g. between the private sector and academia), the retirement of scientists, and further activities of professors emeriti and pensioners.

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The DZHW's Berlin office seeks to strengthen the profile of science studies in Berlin by its numerous collaborative relationships, in particular with the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Berlin Social Science Centre (WZB) and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW).

Research area 2 - Research System and Science Dynamics also fosters a number of international relations with a strong emphasis on collaboration with the universities of Leiden, Rome and Lugano within the European Network of Indicator Designers (ENID), participation in the annual European Summer School for Scientometrics (esss) with the University of Vienna and the University of Leuven, and many other project-based joint ventures with international institutions.

The Research area takes a strong interest in the support of academic studies and young academics and thus collaborates closely with the Master's Programme "Science Studies" at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2012/2013. Click here to learn more about the Programme.

The Berlin branch of the DZHW regularly welcomes international visiting researchers from different organisations in the field of science studies for extended research stays.


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Humanities, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Professional Practice in Graduate Education
Reflections on the growth of science – Research funding and evaluation in the life sciences in Switzerland
Evaluation in crisis?
Reflexive Bibliometrics
National Academics Panel Study (NACAPS)
Helpdesk to facilitate implementation of the Research Core Dataset
Evaluation Practices in Science and Higher Education
The Influence of 'Cognitive Distance' on Peer Review Decisions
External Evaluation of Applicants in Appointment Procedures for Professorships
Quality assurance in science through journal peer Review
Evaluation Practices in Professorial Recruiting
Performance measurement and evaluation of universities – indicators and their interdependencies in research and teaching
Determinants and career effects of scientists' international mobility (SciMo)
Governance and performance of research - an international comparison of scientific systems and their organisations
National Report on Junior Scholars – partial study on "Compatibility of family and work in higher education and non-university research institutions"
Research careers in Europe
Core contents, organisational structures und evaluation procedures of translational medical research
MIND: Motivationen internationaler NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen an deutschen Hochschulen
Shaming Science – Reintegration vs. Stigmatization of Deviance
RISIS – Research infrastructure for research and innovation policy studies
Study on assessing the contribution of the framework programmes to the development of human research capacity
Research Core Dataset
Survey of academic staff at Austrian higher education institutions and non-university research institutes commissioned by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
Survey of academic staff at the UAMR, the university alliance in the Ruhr area of Germany, commissioned by the Stiftung Mercator
Support for continued data collection and analysis concerning mobility patterns and career paths of researchers (MORE2)
Utilization of Bibliometric Indicators for University Benchmarking
Development and Dynamics of Change of a Heterogenious Field in the Social Sciences Using the Example of Educational Research
Subject Delineation and Collaboration
Analysis of Regional Research Potential in Berlin
Bibliometric Indicators for the PFI-Monitoring Reports 2011-2015
EvaCap – Capacity Building for Research Evaluation in Vietnam
Can Research Funding be Captured by Bibliometrics? Reliability and Validity of Information on Funding Acknowledgements in Web of Science
Pilot project: Identification of International Collaboration Opportunities
Investments on joint and open R&D programs and analysis of their economic impact (JOREP)
Towards quality measures for bibliometric indicators
DZHW Scientists Surveys – a barometer for the academic world
Science and Media
Fragile and Conflicting Scientific Evidence in the Decision-making Process of the Initiative for Excellence and its Media Coverage
Intended and unintended effects of local incentive programmes using the example of performance-based funding in medical science
MERCI – Monitoring European Research Council‘s Implementation of Excellence
METRIS – Monitoring European Trends in Social Sciences and Humanities
Feasibility Studies
iFQ-Scientists Survey in Germany 2010
Competence Centre for Bibliometrics
Peer Review at the DFG.
Researching into Expert Panels: the example of the Collaborative Research Centers (SFBs)
Monitoring of the German “Excellence Initiative”
FinSys – Research Monitoring / Final Reports
Peer Review at the DFG: the Review Board
Comparative Evaluation of the Emmy Noether Programme
ProFile - Doctoral Candidates Panel
Evaluation of the Sino-German Center for the Advancement of Science


Stefan Hornbostel
Prof. Dr. Stefan Hornbostel Head +49 30 2064177-0
Sybille Hinze
Dr. Sybille Hinze Deputy Head +49 30 2064177-24


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