Keynote Panels

A central feature of the conference will be to encourage presentation forms that enhance analyses and discussions. To start with, two prominent researchers will present different practices of reviewing for ca. 40 minutes each, followed by a ca. 30 minute panel discussion.

Panel 1: Peer review practices in research funding and institutional evaluation

Michèle Lamont
As members of panels and boards, peers take part in processes determining research grants, post-doctoral grants and awards of various kinds. Peer review in the research funding process is a significant factor in the decision not only of who gets the opportunity to conduct research, but also regarding which ideas and what kinds of scientific knowledge will be furthered.

Michèle Lamont, Harvard University (USA) is professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies. She is author of the classic work on academic peer review, “How professors think”.

Don F. Westerheijden
Over the last decades, higher education institutions worldwide have also experienced the emergence and manifestation of a quality movement with respect to reviews. Through organizations at international, national and institutional levels, a variety of technologies have been introduced to identify, measure and compare the performance of higher education institutions.

Don F. Westerheijden, University of Twente, Enschede (NL) is senior research associate at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS). He co-ordinates research on quality management policies. Amongst other projects, recently he supported the Review Committee that monitored performance contracts in the Netherlands.

Panel 2: Peer review practices in scientific publication and academic recruitment

Raf Vanderstraeten
The roots of the gatekeeper can be found in the assessment practices of reviewers and editors of scholarly journals in deciding on the acceptability of papers submitted for publication. From the outset, the qualifications of the judges of scientific quality were stressed, and only peers with recognized scholarly standing in the field were acknowledged as experts.

Raf Vanderstraeten, Ghent University (BE) is professor of Sociology at the centre of social theory at the University of Ghent.  In his recent work, he focuses on the differentiation of scientific disciplines, especially on changing patterns of communication within scientific communities.

Marieke van den Brink
Processes of recruitment include peer reviewers’ assessments and rankings of scholars’ merits. Often, reviewers are expected to assess not only scientific skills but also educational skills and at times administrative and leadership competencies. In many higher education institutions, peer review is the foundation of the possibility of tenure as well as promotion to higher positions.

Marieke van den Brink, Radboud University (NL) is professor of Gender & Diversity at the Faculty of Social Sciences and the director of Radboud Interdisciplinary Gender and Diversity Studies. The central themes of her research are gender and diversity in organizations, organizational learning and change, power and resistance.

Conference Summary – concluding remarks and future avenues

Eva Forsberg and Lars Geschwind
Based on their experiences and the issues raised by the conference contributors, Eva Forsberg and Lars Geschwind will reflect on the insights from the keynotes and the workshops. Possible future avenues of research on scientific communication and gatekeeping in academia will be discussed.

Eva Forsberg, Uppsala University (SWE) is professor of education.  Her recent research is focused on the interface between education governance, practice and research. Over time, evaluation policy and assessment cultures have been the object of several research projects.

Lars Geschwind, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (SWE) is associate professor of engineering education. He has been working as an evaluator and reviewer in a large variety of roles, both in education and research. Currently, he is involved in a number of projects focusing on change processes in higher education institutions.