A scientometrics-informed peer review exercise is described, as applied at the “Babeș-Bolyai” University in Romania for an internal young researcher short-term grant competition. The applicants were graded from A (“internationally-leading”) to B (“regionally-leading”), C (“nationally-leading”) and D (“low-impact”). Judgment was delegated to panels of three evaluators per applicant, and was informed by such criteria as number of corresponding-author articles in higher-impact journals (as defined mainly by those in a range of highest impact factors per field, or variations thereof), citations, patents, books present in large numbers of libraries, and others. Importantly, the grade was dictated solely by the applicant’s own achievements within their field, rather than by comparison to other applicants. Furthermore, the criteria specifically rest it upon the evaluators to judge the quality of the scientific content, to the extent where a higher grade may be refused in spite of an apparently satisfactory “number of high-impact papers”. Moreover, the evaluators were allowed to consider any type of achievement as argument for any of the grades – ranging from rewarding notable contributions even if not in journals of high impact factors, to such achievements as translations of books of large impact for humanities, key archeological research, and others. At the end of the evaluation procedure, with a small number of exceptions all applicants graded “A” received funding, regardless of their field – even though an imbalance was noted to bias experimental sciences; a small number of applicants with grades ranging from B to A were also funded, within limits set per domain, and within a total of 60 grants per university. For a following competition round, a simplification of the criteria is proposed, defining just three grades – “IE-of significant impact in internationally-accepted terms”, “IR – of significant impact in regionally-accepted terms”, and “IP-of potential impact”. For cases where the number of applicants with maximum grades exceeds the funding resources available, supplementary criteria were proposed – number of papers in internationally recognized papers, age, interdisciplinarity, and practical applications.
Scientometric exercise, Scientometrics, peer review exercise, Evaluation system
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