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The Norwegian model

An often proposed alternative to citation based evaluation is a model, or a variant of it, that is used in Norway .


Stefan Carlstein
036-10 10 15

This kind of alternative is specifically advocated by those who think that the Swedish model can only be applied to a subset of the existing subject categories. The Norwegian model is considered more appropriate since its basis for evaluation is not restricted to international scholarly journals, and that it uses other criteria than citations in order to estimate impact.

The Norwegian model needs a national database (Database for statistikk om høgre utdanning) where all bibliometric information is stored regardless of discipline. Each institution registers the publications that its researchers have produced and this data is centrally quality assured. As is the case with the Swedish model, not all publications are credited. A publication must meet the following standards:

  • Present a new idea (original research).
  • Constructed in such a form that makes it reproducable, or usable in new research.
  • Presented in a language and distribution channel that makes it available to most researchers who it might interest.
  • Presented in a publication channel that has developed routines for peer review.

Subject committees, affiliated with the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, have produced a register of publishers and journals whose publications are expected to meet the demands listed above in various fields. Today, this register consists of about 1,000 publishers and 20,000 journals. This register can be searched in here.

Only three publication types are accepted: 

  1. Monographs published at established publishers.
  2. Chapters in anthologies published at established publishers.
  3. Articles in scholarly journals & series.

Reports, publications in various university series, text books and popular science books, are examples of publication types that are not accepted. One of the main points of the system is that the publication channels are subdivided into two levels (three if you count level 0 which doesn't generate any points). Publications published at publishers and in journals at level 2 generate higher points than corresponding publications at level 1. Level 2 publication channels should be those which (a) are regarded as the most prestigious ones among academic publishers, and (b) those which publish the most important publications by researchers from different countries. Furthermore, level 2 publication channels should publish approximately 20% of the publications in a given field. In this way the number of level 2 publication channels is similar between different research areas.

A publication is then given a weighted point which is determined by its type and of the level of its publication channel according the following weight table:

An analyzed unit (institution or university) gets credit for a publication whose author is affiliated with the unit at the time of its publishing. However, the model applies fractional counts so that a unit is assigned points by the share of authors who are affiliated with the institution. The application of the model results in a publication point for each unit, a weighted measure of productivity and impact. The points are calculated by multiplying author share with the corresponding weights as illustrated in the table above.

Variants of the Norwegian model can be applied to individual universities in Sweden. This is done consistently at Stockholm University, for instance. They use the Norwegian registers of approved journals and publishers divided into levels as well as the current weights as described in the table above. Data concerning publishing activities are collected from the local publication database (DiVA). The advantage of the Norwegian model is that a broader range of publications is included in the analysis compared to the Swedish model. At the same time one has to be aware of a number of problems inherent in the model, such as: the insufficient quality of the self-registered material in the publication databases and that publishers that are relevant for Swedish researchers may, in some cases, be absent in the Norwegian register. Furthermore, consideration must be taken to the fact that the Norwegian model lacks a clear normalization regarding research areas, and how this affect the the distribution of publication points.

Content updated 2015-10-19

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