In the last decade, research assessment has become a crucial dimension of academic life, in Italy as elsewhere in Europe. Today, career advancements, research fund granting or department ranking, are increasingly dependent on research assessment as one of the key indicators. Individual and collective evaluations are thus mixed up to achieve the declared objectives of more efficient use of public funds, on the one hand, and more innovative and advanced research, on the other.

This IPS issue hosts the contributions presented at the Round Table on research assessment in a comparative perspective, held at the SISP annual conference, in September 2016. The IPS community will certainly benefit from the experience of the distinguished international scholars who participated in the Round Table, namely Matthew Flinders (PSA), Rudy Andeweg (ECPR and Dutch association for political science), Catherine Paradeise (Professor emerita UPEM-LISIS) and Daniele Checchi(member of GEV-13 for Research Quality Evaluation (VQR) 2004-2010). SISP President Simona Piattoni, who organized this Round Table, is the guest editor of this issue. We thank them all for having contributed to the on-going debate, providing food for thought from the European academic environment.