Evaluation of Research(ers) and its Threat to Epistemic Pluralisms

Marco Viola
Università degli Studi di Torino
While some form of evaluation has always been employed in science (e.g. peer review, hiring), formal systems of evaluation of research and researchers have recently come to play a more prominent role in many countries because of the adoption of new models of governance. According to such models, the quality of the output of both researchers and their institutions is measured, and issues such as eligibility for tenure or the allocation of public funding to research institutions crucially depends on the outcomes of such measures. However, concerns have been raised over the risk that such evaluation may be threatening epistemic pluralism by penalizing the existent heterodox schools of thought and discouraging the pursuit of new ones. It has been proposed that this may happen because of epistemic bias favouring mainstream research programmes. In this paper, I claim that (1) epistemic pluralism is desirable and should be preserved; (2) formal evaluation exercises may threaten epistemic pluralism because they may be affected by some form of epistemic bias; therefore, (3) to preserve epistemic pluralism, we need some strategy to actively dampen epistemic bias.
Keywords Economic Epistemology  Epistemic Pluralism  Research Policy  Research Evaluation
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.31820/ejap.13.2.4
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