Supporting UNESCO Member States in Evidencing 10 Key Priority Areas - Measures and Indicators for Lithuania, Serbia and South Africa
The UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (RSSR) sets out a number of globally agreed expectations for national systems of science to anticipate and address the needs for social and institutional change toward sustainable research structures and policies, practices and public engagement.
These documents provide evidence for use in the country-level measurement of progress in implementing the Recommendations at the level of the general public. Here, we present results from different sources, such as the RRING global survey of researchers’ attitudes, experiences and practices, the OECD International Survey of Scientific Authors, the existing high quality public science attitudes survey called the Wellcome Global Monitor, the Special Eurobarometer “Public Perceptions of Science, Research and Innovation”, among others.
The RRING Indicators Framework for the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers includes five levels of measurement designed to gain complementary vantage points on the same key area. The different levels for indicators proposed in this document are as follows:
1. Member State (National Reporting)
This is the traditional focus for UN statistics in general and UNESCO indicators in particular. Representatives for the Member State report objective statistics about the status of a number of variables to give a high-level picture. Here, the focus is on identifying relevant operational policy instruments that cover the dimensions of the RSSR.
2. Research Funding Organisations (RFOs)
One important way that Member States can go about implementing their commitment to the RSSR is through the lever of research funding allocations and funding-related policy instruments. The prioritisation of mission-oriented funding, strings that are attached and the criteria that are used for selection of proposals in competitive application processes can all help to align a Member State’s research system with the RSSR principles.
3. Research Performing Organisations (RPOs)
Clearly, the institutions that employ scientific research staff and take responsibility for conducting scientific research are central in the scientific research system and play an outsized role in how scientific researchers are treated, supported and maintained in sustainable careers. While research performing organisations often take their cues from governments and research funders to some extent, they can develop their own norms, policies and practices that either run ahead or lag behind progress in the wider research ecosystems they participate in. This means that such organisations are important to evaluate directly to understand progress at this crucial institutional level.
4. Research Staff
Individual research staff are a key player in the RSSR, whose voice should be included in assessments of progress in RSSR implementation. Here, numerous indicators are proposed for possible use by Member States to keep track of RSSR implementation from the ‘bottom up’ vantage point of individual researchers.
5. General public
A number of the RSSR principles have implications for public views on the role of science. It is therefore worth considering including an indicator dimension that focuses on the public aspect of the RSSR priority areas.
These document are part of the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations (ICoRSA) contribution to the RRING research and innovation project (funded by the European Commission). UNESCO is a partner in the RRING project and the leader of the Work Package for which these documents were produced (viz. Work Package 6).
Brings expertise rooted in a global research staff perspective, with these documents developed by the specialist research unit within ICoRSA with strong expertise in evaluation research methods. The specialised unit is called the ICoRSA Policy Research Unit, and it is led by Dr. Eric A. Jensen. As an umbrella organisation for researchers and research staff associations, ICoRSA conducts policy research and advocacy aimed at advancing the status and treatment of researchers globally. In this way, ICoRSA gives voice to researchers internationally on policies that affect them and their ability to make a positive difference through their work. ICoRSA is a key partner organisation in the RRING project, described below.
RRING project (rring.eu)
The Responsible Research and Innovation Networking Globally (RRING) project has been funded by the European Commission (Grant Agreement No 788503) to develop an empirically-informed global perspective on responsible research and innovation (RRI), culminating in a linked up global approach to RRI. This project makes numerous contributions to the development of a global framework for socially responsible research, including directly engaging with the monitoring process for the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, with the production of an indicator’s framework and specific survey instruments and items.
Learn more about the RRING project’s work relating to the UNESCO Recommendation in this LSE Impact Blog article.
UNESCO_RSSR_Measures and Indicators-Lithuania-For Open Data Publication RRING.pdf