On September 3, 2016 in Barcelona at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, the 2016 EASST Ziman Award for a ‘collaborative promotion of public interaction with science and technology’ was made to
The Leiden Manifesto ‐ declaration, website and international network
Diana Hicks (Georgia Institute of Technology), Paul Wouters, Ludo Waltman, Sarah de Rijcke (CWTS, Leiden) & Ismael Rafols (Ingenio, Valencia).
by Fred Steward, president of EASST, who said:
The Leiden Manifesto is an initiative to engage with the rise of metrics based research assessment by articulating a set of principles which draw on the insights of science and technology studies on the nature of knowledge.
It has a distinctive European dimension as a partnership between Dutch and Spanish centres in science, technology and innovation studies along with a US scholar and arises from the European hosting of an international scientometrics conference.
It addresses a broad audience of 'evaluators' who are often tasked with a role of assessing research performance with the ultimate goal of reassuring 'public' accountability. The manifesto represents a serious and successful public-facing and comprehensible interpretation of the technical area of metrics which is understandable by a wide audience. It draws on state of the art knowledge on research metrics and is linked to an extensive range of international projects, publications, conferences, workshops and networks.
Presented as a distillation of best practice it is at the same time informed by core STS concepts about knowledge. It emphasises situatedness both in terms of different cognitive domains and research missions as well as the wider socioeconomic, national and regional context. It also engages with performativity and the way in which indicators can change the knowledge system itself.
The initiative is designed to influence evaluation practice rather than simply to critique it. This is an impressive effort to take specialised scientometric knowledge into a wide policy arena. Much research evaluation practice and discourse is quite narrowly national in nature. This collaboration has turned it into a wider international European and global conversation. Its relevance to widely diverse national contexts is shown by the number of translations from Catalan to Chinese. It is generating a significant 'impact' through the creation of an extensive international network. Research evaluation is often treated in a technocratic and managerial fashion. This initiative promotes a more reflexive approach and recommends a coevolution approach.
John Ziman, President of EASST 1983-86 contributions to 'public interaction' involved a number of interventions on contemporary political aspects of science - social responsibility of scientists, expert conflict and innovation, freedom of scientists in the Soviet Union, and careers within the science system. They could be described as public actions aimed at politicians and scientists.
This initiative resonates with the Ziman tradition in being addressed to a broad interdisiplinary professional audience of evaluators and scientists on a visible public issue of research accountability.