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 8: Evaluation of academic legal publications in Finland

Pia Letto-Vanamo

Abstract

All Finnish law faculties are state funded. They provide the basic qualification to enter the legal profession. The output of the law faculties and legal scholars is evaluated by reference to criteria formulated by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the university administration. The criteria include educational (the number of bachelor and master degrees) and research indicators. The indicators in assessing research outputs include the number of doctoral degrees, the others being the amount of external research funding and the number of (ranked) publications. The ‘key actor’ in the evaluation of academic publications is the so-called Publication Forum (in Finnish JUFO). The Forum has created a rating and classification system to support the quality assessment of research output. At the same time, evaluation and ranking practices are based more on formal than on substantial criteria. Actually, a kind of convergence of disciplines can be seen in the Finnish academic life. The convergence is one-sided: publication and evaluation practices of natural sciences have quite actively been adapted by social sciences and humanities.: Writing of journal articles merits more than the writing of textbooks or other monographs, texts written in English are scientifically and ‘economically’ more valuable than those written in national languages.

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