Norwegian universities trail Nordic neighbours / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian universities trail Nordic neighbours. UPDATED: Norway’s current trend of lagging behind other countries in important areas has reached university level. Last year’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests showed schools were average, and Research and Development spending and innovation come 17th on the European Commission Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS). A new inquiry now shows Norwegian university researchers are not particularly visible.

toraaasland, nordicuniversityreport



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Norwegian universities trail Nordic neighbours

Published on Tuesday, 24th May, 2011 at 13:16 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 24th May 2011 at 20:34.

UPDATED: Norway’s current trend of lagging behind other countries in important areas has reached university level.

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Mortarboard
Photo: Heath Doman/Shutterstock Images


Last year’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests showed schools were average, and Research and Development spending and innovation come 17th on the European Commission Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS).

A new inquiry now shows Norwegian university researchers are not particularly visible.

The report focuses on eight key areas, Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Biology, Biomedicine, Chemistry, Engineering & Materials Sciences, Geosciences, Health Sciences (including Psychology), and Physics & Mathematics.

Publishing and research have increased, but referencing by other academics has not.

“Norway does not come top, either collectively, or in any single subject area,” Fredrik Piro, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research, and Education (NIFU) tells Aftenposten.

Dag Rune Olsen, Dean of the University of Bergen’s Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, claims his institution ranks second in how often its Geoscientists are quoted.

“This area enjoys great international recognition and we provide data to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Whilst referencing says something about research’s diffusion and visibility, it’s not a qualitative indicator. There are many factors that play a part here, but I don’t believe we concentrate our efforts adequately in Norway,” he says.   

Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aaasland thinks “it’s important to note there has been a positive development, both in publishing and quoting, if one compares this with a starting point that was not terribly good.

“It’s not easy to answer whey there has been a bigger increase in publication than referencing, but this could have something to do with a time delay. It takes a little time between being published and quoted.”

Why do you believe Norwegian researchers are not quoted more, given the report’s evidence of an upward rate of publication?

“This is not an easy question to answer, but there could also still be a challenge with Norwegian researchers participation in European research programs and other international collaborations,” Kyrre Lekve, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, tells The Foreigner.

What does this report say about the academic level of researchers, if anything?

“It is important not to draw any definite conclusions from one year to another. Several institutions increasingly focus a lot on increasing their expertise, and there is reason to believe that it will show in growth in the publications of several institutions, perhaps especially among those who are not so scoring so high today.”

What measures can be taken to even the playing field with Norway’s Nordic neighbours?

“Internationalisation and quality are closely linked, and improved quality will increase the importance of Norwegian research internationally. Increased international orientation among researchers gives access to international networks. By being a part of international networks Norwegian research will be more visible. International networks are also seen as a channel to communicate and publicize the Norwegian research,” he concludes.

The results of NIFU’s report will be discussed at its annual conference in Oslo on Friday.



Published on Tuesday, 24th May, 2011 at 13:16 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 24th May 2011 at 20:34.

This post has the following tags: toraaasland, nordicuniversityreport.


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