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 6: Evaluation of academic legal publications in Switzerland

Andreas Lienhard, Karin Byland and Martin Schmied

Abstract

Increased requirements of accountability put research institutions and researchers under pressure to introduce standards for research evaluation. This also applies to legal research in Switzerland. This chapter analyses the procedures and criteria employed for the evaluation of academic legal publications in different contexts. Findings show that in most contexts, academic legal publications are being assessed by (simple) peer review procedures. Double-blind peer review remains rare, as well as the use of bibliometric methods and indicators. Moreover, attempting to counter the shortcomings of peer review with bibliometrics is not a solution. Criteria of how to assess academic legal publications are not communicated in detail or remain general. However, the quality of academic legal publications is often assessed by the “implicit knowledge” of the reviewers, but there is no consensus among researchers on how to define, let alone, measure quality. We therefore argue that there is room for increasing the transparency of evaluation criteria and procedures in Switzerland.

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