9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN24 Science and Technology

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Evaluation and Assessment of Scientific Systems Building AA, AA.225

The Construction of Excelent Science Boundaries

Evaluation Agencies have a strategic position in public science systems. They are constituted as boundary organizations that mediate between political and scientific actors (Guston, 2000). Moreover, they distribute the public funds steering the current research. They influence in the scientific field structure for being the core of the rewards system. In addition, evaluation is the main process connecting scientific activities with the scientist reputation.
This paper examines the changes in the meaning of the scientific activity as a product of boundary-works among scientists. Its aim is that of analyzing the different phases of the evaluation procedures that have taken place in the three current national research evaluation agencies in Spain (ANEP, CNEAI and ANECA), and set the rise of an evaluation regime in the public national system.
The research reported is based on both, legal documents and qualitative interviews, with 25 experienced scientists in policy-making or R&D management, particularly those who involved in the three evaluation agencies since 1986, when the ?Science Law? was announced. The boundary-works focus is useful to demarcate the excellent activities among scientist, analyzing their own discourses on the different evaluation criteria.
The contribution of this study is the use of primary data to trace not just the institutionalization of the evaluation research system, but also the dynamics of particular groups of scientist that gain responsibilities as policy and decision- makers framing the scientific career.