Volume 8, Issue 1, June 2013

FOCUS ON:

Quality research and the evaluation of research

Linz: what have we learnt from him?
Leonardo Morlino (LUISS University, Rome)

On October 1, Juan J. Linz, Professor Emeritus of Political and Social Science at Yale University, a great master of contemporary political science, a scholar of outstanding prolificacy that became a point of reference for many of our works and a great friend of Italian political science, passed away. Born in 1926, Linz lived and studied in Spain and the United States, emerging as one of the finest students of comparative politics. His works on the collapse of democracies (The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes, with A. Stepan, 1978), totalitarian regimes (Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, 1975 and 2000) and democratization processes (Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, with A. Stepan, 1996) made him one of the key figures of the twentieth century in the field of social science. He left us a superb introductory essay to La sociologia del partito politico by Roberto Michels (1966). Just a few weeks before his passing, IPSA had announced the creation of the Juan Linz Prize. The Italian Association of Political Science and Italian Political Science warmly remember his stature and professional achievements with a contribution by Prof. Leonardo Morlino. […]

Welcome address of the new co-editors
Stefania Panebianco (University of Catania) and Francesco Zucchini (University of Milan)

Italian Political Science (IPS) is the professional journal of the Italian political science community. It was created in 2007 by the generous efforts of Maurizio Cotta with Giliberto Capano and the IPS editorial staff. In 2013 it passed under our direction and we are honored to fulfill this challenging task. We are pleased to have set up an editorial board composed of experienced researchers who will bring in their knowledge of different sub-areas of the discipline. […]

Evaluating the Evaluation. The pros and cons of ‘VQR’ in social and political research
Carla Monteleone (University of Palermo), Stefania Panebianco (University of Catania) and Francesco Zucchini (University of Milan)

Acknowledging the nexus between science and economic development, and in the name of democratic control over the management of public resources, governments have progressively gained a role in mechanisms of knowledge production. In several countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, and France being the most well known cases, this has resulted in various evaluation exercises. All have generated wide debate within the scientific community on the most appropriate methods and criteria to be used. Italy, where the evaluation of research came a little later, is no exception. […]

A new attempt at evaluating Italian research: the 2012-13 VQR
Maurizio Cotta (University of Siena)

In 2012 the new Italian Research Evaluation Process (VQR, Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca) was launched. With this process Italy joined – after a long delay – the group of European countries that have decided to regularly assess the quality of their Universities and Research institutions. Under the aegis of ANVUR (the Agenzia Nazionale per la Valutazione dell’Università e della Ricerca), that has devised and guided the process, a committee was created for each research area to conduct the evaluation process. The process is now finished and, even if the final results are not public as yet, it is possible to analyse specific aspects of this significant event. Having been part of the group responsible for the scientific area 14 (Political and Social Sciences), I will describe the process and some of the problems encountered. I will also present some preliminary data for that which concerns the sub-area of political science. […]

An ‘outside’ perspective on the research assessment exercise
Manuela Moschella (University of Turin)

With these interviews, we collect an ‘outside’ perspective on the research assessment exercise. Specifically, we interviewed Professor James Newell, one of the external evaluators in the Research Quality Evaluation 2004‐2010 (VQR 2004‐2010), and Professor Tony Payne, the 2008 Chair of the panel on Politics and International Studies in the UK Research Assessment Exercise on the strengths and weaknesses of this procedure. […]

Italian research funds: escaping from the PRIN labyrinth
Marco Brunazzo (University of Trento)

In the last few months a number of researchers have been involved in the submission process of the PRIN 2012 projects. PRIN is the acronym of Progetti di ricerca di interesse nazionale (Research projects of national interest) and refers to one of the major Italian public sources of funding for academic research. The submission to the new proposals follows the recent publication of the PRIN 2010/2011 projects admitted to and cofounded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. […]

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