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 13: Evaluation of academic legal publications at the EU level

Marnix Snel

Abstract

A European perspective to the assessment of academic legal publications is still in its infancy. Yet, in Europe, there are several contexts in which assessment of academic works takes place: when legal scholars apply for funding at the European Research Council, when they submit manuscripts to book publishers or law journals that target a European audience, and when they try to get awarded a contract for doing research for the European Commission. Moreover, there are debates and initiatives on European journal and university rankings in which the assessment of academic legal publications is also discussed. This chapter explores and critically discusses the assessment criteria and procedures employed in these various contexts. It finds that all institutions that evaluate works of academic legal scholarship have, independent of each other, developed their own specific evaluation criteria and procedures that are subjected to similar flaws (most-importantly: multi-interpretable criteria and a focus on author status rather than substantive quality). It is therefore argued that it is high time to have a more vivid European debate on how best to evaluate the work legal scholars produce.

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