Counting what counts: A researcher productivity scoring framework for South African's universities of technology
One of the three objectives of academic institutions all over the world is that of ensuring and upholding vibrant research productivity. For developing countries such as South Africa, public spending on research and development provides mechanisms for this. The South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is the custodian of government research funds. Evidence shows that DHET continues to grapple with the challenge of objectively measuring research productivity from the research funds invested in universities. The current funding framework applied by DHET has received numerous criticism one of them being its quantitative nature - it rewards quantity as opposed to quality research. This problem is more pronounced in Universities of Technology (UoTs) where, after more than ten years of operating as universities, the culture of research is not yet fully entrenched. Acknowledging the critical role played by research productivity measurements, we present a research productivity and quality measurement framework for UoTs. Using a case study of one of the UoTs, quantitative data relating to 48 aspects of the of existing research incentive system was used in determining the system’s effectiveness and efficacy in stimulating researchers’ activities. The proposed Framework consists of three components on: how to motivate researchers, what/how to measure research performance and how to incentivise researchers. Using an actual dataset of research outputs from the case study, an illustration on how to apply the framework has been provided. The results confirm our Framework’s ability to “count what counts” and proven the statement that “not everything that can be counted counts”.
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