Policies and Research Measures

This axis asks what "to govern" means in terms of research and innovation. A common question that runs through political science, the management of technology, epistemology and the sociology of science is: How can we define and evaluate the products of research?

The measures of research that are produced, selected and used shape innovation, the ways of doing science and the adoption of technologies - in short, the governance of research and innovation.

CIRST’s projects rethink the impact of emerging standards in the measurement and evaluation of research. The novelty and the variety of these standards and the  practices to which they give rise must be problematized in order to shed light on the diverse sectoral practices and in order to generate an overview of the institutional and cognitive changes that affect the framing and control of science and innovation.

Major research themes

The analysis of the origins of the increased demand for research evaluation and their institutional causes.

2.1.1    The socio-political history of political, institutional, and technological causes of this increased demand for evaluation and their impact on the adoption of normative concepts (innovation, impact factor, success) and classificatory tools and schemes.

2.1.2    Using scientometrics, we will undertake a reconstruction of the socio-political history of the disciplines that evaluate science and innovation.

Researchers: J.-P. Beaud, P. Doray, Y. Gingras, S. Moulin, J.-G. Prévost, S. Veilleux

Contributions to the ongoing effort to stabilize the indicators used to measure research activity and its benefits (patents, impact factors, etc.). Currently, these indicators vary widely and are often unreliable even though they figure prominently in science and innovation policy.

At CIRST, these contributions take two forms:

2.2.1    An epistemological and methodological contribution to the production of indicators of technological innovation within a context where the diverse strategies of firms focused on networks and collaboration make conventional indicators, such as the patent, difficult to use. CIRST and OST are both actors and critics when it comes to research evaluation.

2.2.2   The design of studies and experimental tools (altmetrics, crowdsourcing) to measure the impact of public policies on innovation in business as well as their impact on the strategic choices made by firms and researchers. These studies will take into account the fact that digital technologies in the economic sphere have multiple ramifications that can transform the object of measurement and accelerate the obsolescence of classic indicators.

Researchers: C. Beaudry, Y. Gingras, F. Millerand, V. Larivière, M. Zhegu

The analysis of the use of "big data". CIRST is at the forefront of the empirical study and the critical epistemology that the emerging "data politics and policies” demands.

2.3.1    Projects concerning the policies and the institutional implications of information data banks and digital data.

2.3.2    Projects on the cognitive, epistemological and socioprofessional impact of “big data” on established disciplines. In some cases, disciplines such as quantitative sociology or public sector statistics are at risk of being displaced by commercial actors. In other cases, a reorientation of researchers toward the exploitation of “big data” runs the risk of imposing a particular epistemology on the discipline. Such a reorientation, however, also opens the door to a possible renewal of alternative qualitative approaches such as those attentive to the production and analysis of thick data.

Researchers: J.-P. Beaud, C. Bonneau, V. Larivière, G. Latzko-Toth, F. Millerand, J.-G. Prévost


Updated 22 August 2017 at 16 h 21 min.