Evaluating Academic Legal Research in Europe
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Evaluating Academic Legal Research in Europe

The Advantage of Lagging Behind

Edited by Rob van Gestel and Andreas Lienhard

Legal academics in Europe publish a wide variety of materials including books, articles and essays, in an assortment of languages, and for a diverse readership. As a consequence, this variety can pose a problem for the evaluation of academic legal research. This thought-provoking book offers an overview of the legal and policy norms, methods and criteria applied in the evaluation of academic legal research, from a comparative perspective.
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Chapter 7: Evaluation of academic legal publications in Sweden

Antonia Bakardjieva Engelbrekt


This chapter discusses the principles and methods for quality evaluation of legal research and legal publications in Sweden, reviewing the various contexts in which such evaluation takes place, from allocation of research funding to universities and law faculties to academic appointments and promotions. The chapter describes briefly the general system of research funding in Sweden, underlining the centrality of direct public funding set in proportion to the educational tasks of universities. However, the chapter also identifies a trend towards basing public funding more decisively on research quality, and a marked increase of the use of quantitative methods (i.e. bibliometric indicators such as number of publications and citations) for measuring research quality. While the use of metrics is viewed as an imperfect tool for assessing research quality, some quality-enhancing effects are nevertheless acknowledged, chiefly in terms of increased productivity and encouraging research collaborations, inter-disciplinarity and publications in leading international law journals. In addition, a sustained focus on research quality arguably makes legal scholars more acutely aware of the need to better explain their theoretical frames and methodological choices and revitalizes the debate on what defines good legal scholarship.

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