How measuring research performance based on evidence can lead Malaysia to world-class research excellence
Conference jointly organised by the University of Malaya and Thomson Reuters garnered interesting debate on research performance metrics used by institutions around the world, and which were particularly relevant and important in Malaysia’s context
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, 5 July 2012 – Metrics-based research evaluation provides a pragmatic approach to ensuring consistency and objectivity, especially important in the pursuit of world-class research excellence. The multi-faceted challenges and issues that Malaysian universities and research institutions face while seeking to measure their research performance in a meaningful way that they can communicate clearly with their various stakeholders and research collaboration peers overseas need to be addressed in a strategic and objective manner. These are some of the views presented and exchanged between delegates and guest panelists at the first evidence-based research evaluation conference organised jointly today by the University of Malaya and the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters.
Held at the Auditorium, Kompleks Pengurusan Penyelidikan & Inovasi, University of Malaya, the “Conference on Institutional Perspectives on Evidence-Based Research Evaluation” attracted more than 100 delegates comprising research administrators, research management, funders, librarians, vice-chancellors and academics, data analysts and policy makers from various government ministries.
There was a healthy exchange amongst the delegates and speakers on how best higher education institutions in Malaysia could foster sound scholarship, improve academic standards and determine a fair and consistent method to measure the quality of their academic research and its output. This could help senior executives identify their institutions’ research strengths and make strategic decisions on whether to continue focusing on current strengths or developing new areas. Institutions would also be able to communicate their research performance more clearly and objectively to their key stakeholders and peer institutions around the world as they comply with government mandates, review programs, compete globally for faculty talent and students, substantiate accreditation and attract research funding.
Delivering the keynote speech on the “National Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Malaysia” was Professor Dr. Jailani Mohd. Nor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research & Innovation at Universiti Teknikal Malaysia (UTeM). He was formerly Director of the Excellence Planning Division at the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE).
Professor Jailani spoke on strategies which could help Malaysia boost its education system to meet the needs of the people and become a world-class educational hub. The R&D excellence initiatives began with the ‘National Higher Education Strategic Plan (NHESP)’ which was launched in 2007. The NHESP is now in phase 2 of the implementation stage (2011 – 2015) and has yielded some positive results. However, there is still much to be done in order for NHESP to achieve its intended target. Among the issues that Professor Jailani covered in his keynote speech were the ‘Research University (RU) programme’ and its impact on driving Malaysia’s R&D excellence initiatives; the ‘Higher Institutions Center of Excellence (HiCOE)’ programme; and management of research funds such as the ‘Fundamental, Long-term, Exploratory and Prototype Development Grant Scheme (FRGS, LRGS, ERGS and PRGS)’. Some key points on the way forward for MOHE in pursuing its research excellence agenda were also presented in his speech.
Said Prof Dr. Hamzah A. Rahman, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, University of Malaya, “The purpose of this conference is to foster dialogue among academics about the academic culture we are trying to nurture within the University of Malaya. This university has conceived and is implementing a road map to develop an academic environment where sound scholarship is actively encouraged and supported. However, we feel more can – and should – be done to support and acknowledge sound scholarship and excellent teaching where knowledge is imparted to young minds that come to us for tutelage. We take very seriously our responsibility to mould young minds that look to us for training, to develop their disciplinary focus as well as their analytical and creative thinking skills. We are acutely aware that such knowledge can only be transferred to our students if we, the faculty, are actively engaged in research that culminates in new knowledge, one that is acknowledged by our peers as a contribution to our discipline as well as to society.”
Said Dr Wong Woei Fuh, Managing Director, Asia, Thomson Reuters, “We are very pleased to co-organise our first conference with the University of Malaya, one of Malaysia’s leading universities. As a trusted partner of the global research community for more than half a century, we believe it’s important to engage with the various stakeholders of research management in open discussions about research excellence and research evaluation.”
Dr Wong continued, “According to Thomson Reuters Web of Science® database, Malaysia has increased its research output in the past decade, with an almost three-fold increase in papers produced from 2006 to 2010. Until the late 1980s, the six ASEAN countries were similar in their research output volume. Based on Thomson Reuters Essential Science IndicatorsSM , Malaysia ranks third after Singapore and Thailand by number of top 1% of Highly Cited Papers¹ published worldwide amongst the six ASEAN countries. However, by ratio of these Highly Cited Papers against total output, Malaysia ranks the lowest. This indicates that Malaysia is not lacking in talent and with careful planning of resources to manage research performance, universities and research institutions can fully reach their potential to achieve world-class research excellence. If they were to evaluate their research performance using quantifiable metrics, they would be better able to benchmark their performance against indicators of institutional research performance that they find relevant to their strategic objectives. For the past decade, we have been working closely with Malaysia’s higher education and research communities to support their research workflow needs and efforts to benchmark research excellence with our critical information and research analytics, and we remain committed to this endeavour.”
There were three panel discussions with themes of “Building a World-Class University” and “Meaningful Performance Measures for Higher Education” chaired by vice-chancellors and directors of research & innovation, medicine and research management from the University of Malaya. The panel of 12 speakers from universities and research institutions in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Kingdom shared ideas with the audience, and debated on how to define research excellence and evaluate the quality and impact of research.
A workshop on “Finding Meaningful Performance Measures for Higher Education” would be conducted by Thomson Reuters on 6 July 2012 for interested delegates who were interested to learn more about indicators of institutional research performance which they could consider to address key questions they face at work.
For conference programme and abstracts of speakers’ presentations, please visit here.
Note to Editors:
Highly Cited Papers¹ are selected from the most recent 10 years of data in Thomson Reuters Essential Science IndicatorsSM. For more information, visit http://sciencewatch.com/about/met/core-hcp/.
About the University of Malaya
The University of Malaya is a public research university located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the oldest university in Malaysia situated on a 750 acre (309 hectare) campus in the southwest of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The university was founded in 1949 as a public-funded tertiary institution.
The growth of the University was very rapid during the first decade of its establishment and this resulted in the setting up of two autonomous divisions in 1959, one located in Singapore and the other in Kuala Lumpur. On 16 June 1962, the University of Malaya celebrated the installation of its first Chancellor, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, who was also the country's first prime minister. The first Vice-Chancellor was Professor Oppenheim, a world-renowned Mathematician. Currently, His Royal Highness, The Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan, is the Chancellor of the University of Malaya. Ghauth Jasmon was appointed as the tenth Vice-Chancellor of University of Malaya on 8 November 2008.
In 2011, the University of Malaya was ranked within the 401st to 500th positions in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The THES – QS World University Rankings ranked UM amongst the top 200 universities of the world. The university intends to undertake teaching and learning, conduct research and services of quality, generate and advance knowledge through continuous improvement efforts for the benefit of its students and faculty. In 2012, the university was granted autonomy status by the Ministry of Higher Education. For more information, visit http://www.um.edu.my/
About Thomson Reuters
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