Bibliometrics Underpins Charles University Research (Behind the Scenes with Daniel Münich)

2 July, 2021

"It was an honour to be part of the very first international science assessment on a scale that is unprecedented for the university and possibly also nationally," says Daniel Münich about his team's work on the project in an article published on the author's blog and

Charles University (CU) recently published a bibliometric analysis in support of its internal university-wide international evaluation of science. The comprehensive report was prepared by IDEA at CERGE-EI in co-operation with Charles University's internal evaluation team.

"The big challenge for us was the breakdown by areas of specialism. Charles University has its own field typology, which is not comparable to any other in the world. Owing to Charles University internal regulations, among other factors, the evaluation had to be carried out with regard to this specific field typology. This typology may not be fully comprehensible from the perspective of foreign evaluators, preventing a full national and international comparison. But comparison is the alpha and omega of evaluation based on bibliometric indicators and of science in general. Without comparison with others, the number of publications, citations or publication structure alone will not tell you much," writes Daniel Münich.

"I often say that data wrapped with meaning become information, information leads to knowledge, and without data and evaluation, there is no effective management of science. Thus, to increase awareness and forego creating a report too large, we had meetings with most of the Vice Deans for Research. I was glad to see that, prior to meeting us, many had already taken to the concept of the report as if it was a good whodunit. A number of them appreciated seeing useful results of the often-tedious task their departments conduct in entering lots of data into information systems. Admittedly, the national and international comparisons were not always favourable. But that is just the way it goes in a solid evaluation exercise. What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over. But even bad news is good news in the sense that it can provide food for thought and prompt changes leading to improvements."

"It would also be unfair to gloss over the fact that this bibliometric analysis tool has its shortcomings, and there may the odd error. But as they say, he that never climbed, never fell. None of this, however, was aberrant enought to damage anyone's results or invalidate the evaluation, and the lessons learned will help us in the next big Charles University science assessment which is planned for 2024," concludes Daniel Münich.