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The eternal search for accountability & steering in Dutch humanities valorisation debates Paper presented to What is the arts & humanities research mission?

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Presentation on theme: "The eternal search for accountability & steering in Dutch humanities valorisation debates Paper presented to What is the arts & humanities research mission?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The eternal search for accountability & steering in Dutch humanities valorisation debates Paper presented to What is the arts & humanities research mission? in “Towards transformative governance? Responses to mission- oriented paradigms”, EU-SPRI 2012 Conference, Karlsruhe, Germany. Paul Benneworth, CHEPS, University of Twente, the Netherlands

2 The context: 3 related changes Nature of society – Increasing importance of knowledge to welfare (Romer, Castells, Temple et al. ) Nature of public administration – Shift towards governance in networks (Rhodes, Kickert, Ferlie et al.) Nature of research – Massification: from boutique to ‘engine-room’ (Gibbons et al., Etzkowitz & Leyesdorff)

3 The new university research environment Massively increased research budgets Shift in anatomy of research (scholarship  teams, researchers, infrastructure) New expectations on research value Making clear contributions to public goals New accountability mechanisms Shift from peer review  summary metrics and performance indicators

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5 Linear research valorisation model.

6 From a real process to an appealing macro-heuristic Outputs?

7 Mobilising supporters to ‘idea’ Politically popular – AUTM Better world report: ‘licensing will save us” But a heuristic/ policy concept, not a theoretical concept Theory selectively woven into politically desirable ambitions.

8 Valorisation in Humanities Research: nexus of research, scholarship and engagement much less clear cut in humanities research as to what precisely creates the change. Outputs: absence of codified outputs transferred through market transactions that make a difference. Uptake: question of measuring small uptakes not always recorded as economic transaction. Progress: economic growth is ‘objective’ measure of progress, social progress much more subjective.  Measuring Hums valorization fairly is attempting to achieve the impossible!

9 Idea of a public value failure Market failure – when market forces produce suboptimal situation. ‘Narrow’/ private interests win – overall public benefits cut. Idea of public value failure (Bozeman)… Clearly heuristic of valorisation is very narrow.  Does it lead to private interests trumping public benefits?

10 Failure definitionExample from valorisation Mechanisms for values articulation and aggregation Policy processes and social cohesion insufficient to ensure effective command processing of public values Policy debate becomes framed in terms of benefits for business, these firms are synonymous for business Imperfect monopolies Private provision of goods and services permitted through Government monopoly deemed in the public interests If public authorities do not regulate new technologies adequately, spin-offs can cause breeches of trust Scarcity of providers Despite recognising public value and agreement on public provision, no actual services available because of shortage Cherry-picking of research base by private sector sees offshoring of important technological firms and sectors, undermining economy Short time horizon Leads to missing costs that feature in a long-term horizon Race to patent and license hinders longer term accretion of knowledge and encourages knowledge abandonment Substitutability vs. conservation of resources Policies focus on substitutability or indemnification even where there is no satisfactory substitute New technologies are developed using public money that restrain freedom or aid oppression Benefit hoardingPublic commodities are captured by individuals or groups, limiting wider public benefits Socialisation of costs and privatisation of the profits of public research Table 1 Public failure and public policy, a diagnostic model for valorisation Source: after Bozeman & Sarewitz (2011), p. 17 modified by authors.

11 Public value failure in AHR? Prima facie case that model is inapplicable, and causing problems for humanities. ‘Private benefits, STEM, policy makers Is the idea of valorisation in AHR more a policy than theoretical concept? Is the heuristic/ policy concept of valorisation in AHR a public value failure? Does it correspond to particular private interests to the exclusion of wider public goods?

12 Humanities in Dutch Universities SectorUniversities included Rationale for humanities in university AncientLeiden, Groningen, UvA, Utrecht University originally primarily humanities. Humanities retain symbolic and prestige value alongside more useful new areas. ConsociationalVU, Radboud, Tilburg Humanities education important for access to the professions and higher public life: creating a new intelligentsia Socially motivated Maastricht, Rotterdam, Open Relatively inexpensive to build up, bring student numbers and help to build profile and prestige of institution Non- humanities 3 Technical Universties, Wageningen Humanities remain tangential to university profile but important to some study areas e.g. philosophy of science and technology

13 Other research organisations KNAW research institute Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) Fryske Akademy (FA) Huygens ING International Institute of Social History (IISH) Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) Meertens Institute NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide studies Netherlands Interdisciplinairy Demographic Institute (NIDI) Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) Universities of Applied Science mainly applied research in creative arts field.

14 The ‘perpetual crisis’ in Dutch Humanities 1987-date ‘Kleine Letteren’: small subjects, small classes Something uniquely Dutch – e.g Chair E Javanese Unsustainable but desirable at start of 1980s Focal point for debate about humanities Series of reports on future of Kleine Letteren 1990s, special funding but ‘neglect’ of other hums ‘Windows on the world’: the modern view of hums 2008 – Cohen Commission – righting the balance Sustainability for all Humanities

15 The linear model 2.0

16 Research in Humanities landscape

17 Where are ‘publics ’ in Dutch accountability debates? There is strong public interest/ value in consuming humanities research Publics do not necessarily fully understand the nature of the scientific endeavour, Humanities research that is relevant may be both unpopular but a positive contribution The system is extremely fragmented with little accountability or interdependence There are many points of transformation from research projects to publics Much accountability/ public steering falls to the Science Council, which is tiny

18 A public value failure? Fragmentation of public interest mediation Public voices not clearly saying “we value this” Govt wants to hear those voices But defaults to the comfortable messages Not chosing 1 model constructive ambiguity? Postponing/ deferring decisions to avoid need to take the wrong choice. Not taking choice prevents public value failure BUT also stops sensible resolution

19 Lengthy AHR chains to publics Biotech valorisation model requires strongly regulated exchange systems – IP, VC, NASDAQ Public interest represented by FDA approval process – ethical governance framework Lack of AHR valorisation governance framework No signalling from society/ publics to AHR scholars on what matters Question of a governance crisis, and public ethical frameworks for AHR? Alternative accountability models?

20 The problem with metrics Janus-faced administrators want good (i.e. comparable) and applicable metrics Valorisation systems (Pharma/ AHR) different: formality, governance, transactions, directness Conflict allows reductio ad absurdum: “the 2 nd historian becomes fearful for his future… ghost-writes the King Alfred Book of Bread and Cake baking and then becomes the university’s Director of Research Strategy (Humanities)” Collini, 2012, p.12) Where is the ‘public assent’ to particular scores? Where can the public show they (don’t) care?

21 Bringing publics back into research valorisation No clearly defined high level idea of social devt Or low-level public signalling via output use No public involvement in research governance An ethical framework for AHR? Nano/ GM/ HSR much further advanced Key to effective value understanding: understanding governance system Identifying public ethical frameworks Linking public ethics to decision-taking


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