Book section Open Access
Science and technology systems in developing countries are very heterogeneous, and so are the expectations and explicit demands from their societies as to S&T outputs and socio-economic impacts. The policy debate and general expectations with regards to science, is partly driven by ways to assess scientific performance and underlying notions of research quality and excellence. Excellence can be defined in terms of quality, but also in terms of pertinence. For instance, while bibliometric data are a useful standard for the assessment of knowledge production and scientific output, they do not inform about other activities related to science that may have a noticeable impact on social or economic needs. Also, the experience of a research group in knowledge transfer to civic society or to the business sector is commonly out of the scope of assessment. In order to move towards a concrete set of assessment tools, this paper considers two separate domains where research excellence can be measured, each one with its own goals and measurable aspects: one domain is inside the scientific community and one outside the scientific community. The first case discusses the use of traditional bibliometric methods databases in developing countries. For the second case, a methodology will be presented to measure societal engagement. This work is based on the Ibero-American Network on Science and Technology Indicators (RICYT) experience in the development and operationalization of indicators in Latin-American countries.