National Research Funding: The Norwegian Model Spreads in the Nordic Region

At present, Denmark, Finland and Sweden are all debating and developing new result indicators for research and corresponding models for research funding. The discussions and approaches strongly relate to the controversial Norwegian model that was implemented in 2006. Forskningpolitikk 1/2008 includes a brief overview of the Norwegian process and presents three commentary articles by national representatives on the ongoing processes in the other Nordic countries.
The Norwegian Model
At a Norwegian national conference organised by The Norwegian Association for Higher Education Institutions in the early 2000s, the participants agreed to rely on existing research databases and improve these in order to establish a basis for a result indicator for research, based on scientific publishing. The database work was carried out during 2003–04. In 2008, the Ministry for Education and Research has initiated a process to add research performed in the health sector and at independent research institutions into the same data base. This will make all public research available through the same bibliographic resource. Activities that aim to make electronic versions of the actual publications available via the bibliographic database as well, are also in progress.

Denmark: The Norwegian Model as a Whole
Implementation of the Norwegian model is in progress in Denmark, motivated by the Government’s resolution that they will increase research allocations considerably in the period ahead, if the university sector can provide documented results. Implementation of the new system will be finished by 2010. Jesper W. Schneider from Aalborg University has analysed the Norwegian model. He accentuates the importance of implementing both the documentation database system and the indicator. “These two parts of the Norwegian model must be perceived an integrated whole”, he says.

Finland: Different Research Fields – Different Indicators?
The Ministry of Education in Finland recently appointed a working group to develop a database for research and educational activities at the Finnish universities. “The Norwegian model, measuring both quality and quantity through its new score system, is particularly interesting for Finland”, says Hanna-Mari Pasanen at Tampere University in Forskningspolitikk 1/08. The Finnish debate on this issue includes a discussion on whether or not different indicators should apply for different subject fields and research areas.

Sweden: Publications and Citations
A recently published Swedish Public Report (SOU) Resurser för kvalitet presents a bibliometric model based on both scientific publications and citations. At the Swedish universities a parallel process that aims to establish a joint system for documentation of scientific publishing, is in progress. The documentation system is inspired by the Norwegian model, while the indicator is modelled after a Flemish bibliometric system which Flanders is about to abandon. Many Swedish universities also establish their own bibliometric units/ institutes at present. A primary task for these units is to provide university management and other decision-makers with analyses of the institution’s scientific publishing.

(Forskningspolitikk 2008/1, the complete publication is available here (in Norwegian only))