Department of Business Administration

Lund University School of Economics and Management


Seminar 23 November 2017

Title: Between the Frying Pan and the Fire: constituting notions of research excellence

The KNOWSCIENCE research group will hold a seminar discussing how notions of research quality are constituted.  The seminar will feature Dr. Maria Nedeva, Guest Professor in the Strategy and Research Policy Group at Lund University. She is also Professor of Science and Innovation Dynamics and Policy at Alliance Manchester University.

Time:  13h30 - 15h30

Venue: EC1:136, Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum, Tycho Brahes väg 1, Lund



During this seminar, we’d revisit the highly contextual, complex and dynamic nature of the notion(s) of research quality and discuss a framework for its study and understanding. This framework uses two sets of assumptions. One of these builds on existing studies of the notions of research quality to explicate three characteristics that inform notions of research quality (Polanyi, 1962; Hemlin, 1991; Lamont, 2009; Bazeley, 2010; Mårtensson, 2016). Another set of assumptions uses contemporary understanding of the science system (Whitley, 2000; Whitley et al. 2010; Glaser et al. 2010, Nedeva, 2013), and its dynamics, to identify five organisational contexts where notions of research quality are constituted.

Imperatives for increased levels of accountability, legitimacy and growth have contributed to widening the concept of research quality in policy and funding circles. Furthermore, the power to define research quality has now shifted from being the sole province of knowledge communities (research fields) to being a shared responsibility of the research community and significant others.

This shift of epistemic authority from science has implications for the way in which we understand and study research quality. This paper outlines a new approach to the study of research quality which takes its point of departure in the processes and mechanisms through which dominant notions of research quality are developed and established.

(This research is being carried out by an international team that includes colleagues from Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK and supported by the Research Council of Norway.)

Conference 7- 9 June 2017

KNOWSCIENCE is co-hosting a session at the Eu-SPRI meeting in Vienna under the title: The impact of STI-policies on the organization and production of knowledgeSee link for details.

Seminar 24 May 2017

Dr. Aant Elzinga will be the guest speaker in the next KNOWSCIENCE seminar. Aant is from the Department of Philosophy, Languistics, and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg. He will be presenting his work: The Cold War, Political Neutrality, and Academic Boundaries: Imprints on the Origins and Early Development of Science Studies in Sweden.

Time:  13h00 - 15h00

Venue: Rhenmansalen, Alfa2, Scheelevägen 15A, Lund

Seminar 19 April 2017

The KNOWSCIENCE project group is pleased to welcome Drs. Ruth Mueller and Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner from the Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University Munich. Ruth and Wolfgang will share some of the latest findings from their respective research projects with us in a mini workshop on the 19/4 at 13h.


Rhenmansalen, Alfa2, Scheelevägen 15A, Lund


13.15    Dr. Ruth Mueller:  A Lab of One’s Own? On Becoming Independent in Contemporary Academia

13.45   Discussion

14.15   Coffee Break 

14.20    Dr. Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner: Situated knowledge, international impact: Changing publishing practices in a German automotive engineering department

14.50    Discussion

15.30    Wrap up

Workshop 24-25 November 2016

Title: Globalising practices in the governance of higher education and research

Globalising Practices in the Governance of Higher Education and Research is a research programme that bridges the divide between research on higher education and research policy. The programme is built around three cases which together shed light on how the practices that now dominate the governance of science disseminate in the European context and beyond. The cases explored are the role of the ESF in the diffusion of governance practices; the development of global rankings of higher education and the evolution of competitive funding for basic research in the European Research Area.

Workshop programme


Keynote speaker: Benedetto Lepori

Professor Benedetto Lepori holds a PhD in Communication Sciences with a thesis on the Swiss research and higher education policy at the University of Lugano in 2004. At the University of Lugano,he is titular professor at the Faculty of Communication science, Institute of Interdisciplinary Data Sciences. He is also head of the Research Service of the University and of the Scuola Professionale della Svizzera italiana.

His research interests cover a broad range of topics in research and higher education studies. He is a recognized specialist in the analysis of research policies and, especially, public research funding. In this area, he coordinated the PRIME project on public project funding and was co-coordinator of the European Contract on Joint and Open Programs (JOREP). He has also worked extensively in the domain of higher education indicators and governance; he participated in PRIME-AQUAMETH and the European MIcroData study, and is currently coordinator of the European Tertiary Education Register (ETER). He was also chair of the European Network of Indicator Designers conference series and is currently member of the Coordination Board of the RISIS project on developing research infrastructure for research policy studies. More generally, his research focuses on issues of higher education governance, university management and theory of S&T indicators.

He has published extensively on these topics in journals like Organization Studies, Research Policy, Science and Public Policy, Research Evaluation, Evaluation, Journal of Informetrics, Scientometrics, Higher Education and Studies in Higher Education.


Keynote speech: US and European universities. Is the difference money?


Large differences in the level of scientific production and of international reputation between top-US and European universities are well-known, as represented for example by international research rankings (Albarrán, Crespo, Ortuno and Ruiz-Castillo 2010). It has been speculated that these differences are generated by different governance and funding in the two systems, with the US system promoting more competition and differentiation and concentrating funding in top-ranked universities (Bonaccorsi 2009; Aghion, Dewatripont, Hoxby, Mas-Colell and Sapir 2010). This paper proposes an empirical analysis of such differences. By matching data from the US Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS; and the European Tertiary Education Register dataset (ETER;, enriched with bibliometric data from the Leiden Ranking, we are able to provide a disaggregated analysis of differences in characteristics and level of funding of individual Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in both systems. We move beyond comparisons based on aggregated figures and averages to focus on differences in the distributions across the two systems and relevant variables.

Our analysis displays a complex pattern of differences across different dimensions. The US system is more diverse in terms of institutional status and types of HEIs, while in Europe universities constitute the core of the system both in research and in education. In terms of activities, the US system is more distributed in terms of education than Europe, but much more concentrated for what concerns research. We highlight two strong differences in the funding system: first, the differentiation of funding channels in the US (State contributions, federal research grants, donations, tuition fees) as contrasted with the dominance of the government core allocation in Europe and, second, the much stronger concentration of resources in the top-US universities, whose budget is a multiple of the best-funded European universities. We also show that the volume of research output (measured through scientific publications) increases almost linearly with the funding volume, while reputation (measured through citations) scales more than proportionally with funding (van Raan 2013), implying that stronger concentration of funding is associated with higher international reputation. Implications of these findings for public policies are finally discussed.


Aghion, P., Dewatripont, M., Hoxby, C., Mas-Colell, A. & Sapir, A. (2010). The governance and performance of universities: evidence from Europe and the US. Economic Policy, 25(61), 7-59.

Albarrán, P., Crespo, J. A., Ortuno, I. & Ruiz-Castillo, J. (2010). A comparison of the scientific performance of the US and the European Union at the turn of the 21st century. Scientometrics, 85(1), 329-344.

Bonaccorsi, A. (2009). Division of academic labour is limited by the size of the market. strategy and differentiation of european universities in doctoral education. In M. McKelvey & M. Holmén(Eds.) Learning to compete in European universities (pp. 90-127). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

van Raan, A. F. (2013). Universities scale like cities. PloS One, 8(3), e59384.