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The Objectivity of National Research Foundation Peer Review Based Ratings in South Africa

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  • Johannes Fedderke

Abstract

This paper examines the strength of association between the outcomes of National Research Foundation (NRF) peer review based rating mechanisms, and a range of objective measures of performance of researchers. The analysis is conducted on 1932 scholars that have received an NRF rating or an NRF research chair. We find that scholars with higher NRF ratings record higher performance on average against the objective measures of absolute output and the impact of their research, than scholars at lower ratings. In addition, the higher the performance of scholars against all objective measures of absolute output and impact, increases the probability of higher rating. However, we also find that the probability of achieving a B-rating remains higher than that of acheiving an A-rating even at the very highest levels of recorded performance for South African scholars. In addition, scholars who have received the highest ratings record objective levels of research output and impact of their research that are no different from the minimum levels of objective performance at much lower NRF ratings. Moreover, we find strong cross-disciplinary differences in terms of the impact that objective levels of performance have on the probability of achieving different NRF ratings. Finally, we report evidence that NRF peer review is less likely to reward multiauthored research output than single-authored output.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Objectivity of National Research Foundation Peer Review Based Ratings in South Africa," Working Papers 300, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:300
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    File URL: http://www.econrsa.org/node/323
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adler, Niclas & Elmquist, Maria & Norrgren, Flemming, 2009. "The challenge of managing boundary-spanning research activities: Experiences from the Swedish context," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1136-1149, September.
    2. Hare, Paul G & Wyatt, Geoffrey, 1992. "Economics of Academic Research and Its Implications for Higher Education," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 48-66, Summer.
    3. Benner, Mats & Sandstrom, Ulf, 2000. "Institutionalizing the triple helix: research funding and norms in the academic system," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 291-301, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fedderke, J.W. & Goldschmidt, M., 2015. "Does massive funding support of researchers work?: Evaluating the impact of the South African research chair funding initiative," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 467-482.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective research ratings; objective research ratings; research funding;

    JEL classification:

    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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