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Transforming research in Latin American and the Caribbean

Guiding principles and a global survey on a new type of research assessment have been announced by the Latin American Forum for Research Assessment

The Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), an academic network created in 1967 and today gathering 680 research centres in 51 countries, is inviting the scientific community to share views on principles and recommendations for research evaluation, recently drafted by the Latin American Forum for Research Assessment (FOLEC- Foro Latinoamericano sobre Evaluación Científica). Contributions have already been received from a consultation within Latin America and are now more widely sought.

In this international consultation, global participation will help better understand the diverse perspectives, and better insert, the Latin American debate on research assessment in the context of other initiatives and debates worldwide – contributing in particular to the review process of research evaluation and its indicators.

According to CLACSO, the main goals of the Latin American Forum for Research Assessment are:

  • To transform the academic evaluation process and direct scientific research towards local needs in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  •  To strengthen the participation of the Latin American academic community in the international conversation on open science;
  •  To produce a wide-ranging and plural debate to value the complexity of the region and diversity of knowledge and
  •  To generate regional recommendations and relevant assessment policies across Latin American and Caribbean countries.

To achieve these goals, FOLEC aims to gain a global view on the principles, and to better understand diverse international perspectives on research assessment, by launching an international survey, to be completed by 23 October 2020.

A virtual meeting on 28 October 2020 entitled “Towards a Transformation of SSH Research Assessment in Latin America and the Caribbean” will also take place to promote dialogue around the issue of research assessment. The meeting will introduce some of the challenges in social sciences and humanities research assessment in a developing region and share a summary of the documents and feed-back received, and then the main part of the meeting will be an open discussion with participants.

More information about FOLEC

By implementing these research evaluation principles, FOLEC hopes to transform the research evaluation process into a learning opportunity for local, national and scientific policies, as well as for the individuals and institutions being assessed. By creating a research evaluation process that values diverse opinions from across the world, FOLEC aims to create a more inclusive and accurate scientific dialogue within research developments and adapt to the globalized society of today.

Some of the key drivers FOLEC took into consideration in creating the draft principles included:

  • The UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (2017) stating that all policies adopted by the countries in the fields of science, technology and innovation should be part of the integrated effort to create a more humane, fair and inclusive society;
  • Evaluation systems and how they relate to social sciences;
  • The growing international consensus that the assessment of scientific production has generated multiple distortions, including the quantification of academic career evaluation and the commodification of the scientific publishing system.

Through implementing the FOLEC principles and recommendations for research evaluation, CLACSO hopes to increase accessibility and accountability of research within the social science disciplines, and to continue to advance research by developing inclusive evaluation standards that consider human rights and development.

According to CLACSO, “the main goal of academic assessment is the development of a high-quality science with social pertinence and inclusive respect to a plurality of current approaches.” With this in mind, CLASCO hopes to redefine the meaning of “impact” in order to focus it towards social relevance, as well as the transparency of evaluation within the scientific discipline and beyond.

ISC Members, particularly those from the region, are encouraged to participate in the global call and activities.

Photo by Jamie Taylor on Unsplash

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