Created By: Esa Hamalainen on 12.04.1999 at 14:10
| Letter, 30th March|
Category: 00 General Category2: 3 Practical information
UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
Dr. ANTTI ARJAVA, Evaluation Officer
FIN-00014 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
March 30th, 1999Telephone: + 358 9 191 22169
Telefax: + 358 9 191 23008
We are honoured to have your help in the Research Assessment Exercise of 1999. The following lines are intended to give you an idea of the conduct of the Exercise and to provide some practical guidance for your visit to the University. The material to be assessed will follow within a few weeks.
Please find enclosed a set of instructions titled "Guidelines for Evaluation". It presents the criteria to be used in the assessment, the rating scale with descriptions, and the questions to be discussed by the panels in their written report. For the conduct of the Exercise, it is vital that the panels interpret the rating scale in a roughly similar manner. We have tried to write the descriptions in a way which ensures a certain degree of uniformity while it also allows for some flexibility in assessing widely diverging fields of research. We have called together a preliminary meeting of those evaluators who live in Finland in order to discuss the rating scale and possible difficulties related with it.
We shall start sending the material to the first panels in early March and hope to have everything dispatched by late April. You will receive all essential material in hard copy. Some additional data will later be available on the WorldWideWeb (http://savotta.helsinki.fi/researcheval). There you can find e.g. the material of the other panels, more statistics on the University finances and staff, etc. However, these constitute only background material, intended to give you an idea of the broader context in which the departments operate. If you do not have access to the WWW and wish for this kind of information, we shall send it upon request.
By far the most important part of the material is the selected bibliography compiled by each department. Once you have examined the lists you may ask us to provide copies of works which you would like to see but which are not easily available to you otherwise. We will try to ensure that you receive them within two weeks of your request. In principle, the dispatched works should be returned at our expense after the evaluation, but in some cases the departments may indicate that it is not necessary. All works submitted for evaluation will be available for inspection during the site visits. The panels are also invited to acquaint themselves with the full bibliographies of the departments, but these need not be examined closely. We are planning to send them, too, on paper (normally a few dozen pages). However, sometimes they are so large (up to several hundred pages, especially in the Faculty of Medicine), that you may prefer to browse through them on the Web.
There will be no exact directions for the panels’ working methods because they depend both on the field of research and on the number of staff and works to be assessed by each panel. Although the panels are expected to evaluate the submitted selected bibliographies, it does not follow that every panel member would have to read all the works, of course. On average, one evaluator would have one department to assess, but the division is sometimes not clear-cut, and some big and heterogeneous departments may have several evaluators. The amount of material in Finnish or Swedish also varies between panels. Thus, all details of the work are best left to be decided by each panel.
The panel chairs, too, will be chosen by the panels themselves. If you could possibly do that at an early stage, the chair might be able to coordinate the division of the tasks among the panel members. He or she could also convey to us the panel’s wishes concerning the arrangements for the site visit. You will find the addresses of your panel on a separate sheet (in some cases it will be sent later).
The panels are encouraged to refer interdisciplinary work to other panels for advice, and individual panel members may be asked to evaluate certain areas of research from departments which are not otherwise assessed by their panel. Women’s studies have a special, extra evaluator, who may consult the relevant panels and who can in turn be consulted by the other evaluators.
Most of you have already received the exact dates for your site visit. We hope that those dates can be considered as final, though small adjustments may be possible if you are compelled to change your plans. Usually we aim to begin well before noon on the first day of the visit, so it will help if you can arrive on the preceding day, or early in the morning. The panels will spend approximately half a day at each department to be assessed, depending on the size of the unit, of course, and may then need perhaps a whole day for writing the reports. It may, in many cases, be feasible to write parts of the reports after each day’s visits. If you think that the departments should be visited in a certain order, or have other special wishes, we will be happy to take that into account. Otherwise we shall make out the schedule together with the departments. Those of you who would like to stay in Helsinki for some extra days are naturally welcome to do so. Should you happen to have other contacts with the departments on the days before or after the evaluation (e.g. if you are asked to give a guest lecture), that is not prevented by the rules of the evaluation. You are, however, asked to keep the results of the evaluation confidential until the last panels have submitted their reports in September.
We shall reserve accommodation for you as soon as you inform us of your flights. Most of you will stay in the University guest rooms, which are generally considered very comfortable, but if there are several panels visiting the University at the same time, some of them may be accommodated in a nearby hotel. You would probably prefer to reserve your flight tickets yourself. All your travel costs will be defrayed against receipt, and a per diem allowance of 154 FIM is intended to cover those meals which are not offered by the university. As mentioned in the invitation letter, the evaluators will be paid a fee of 8000 FIM, and the panel chairs an extra 2000 FIM. From this will unfortunately be deducted a 35 % tax at source (Finnish residents are taxed in the normal manner). We suggest that your total account be settled in one instalment right after your return journey, but if you wish to have it partly or entirely paid during your stay here, just let us know a few days in advance.
For the smooth operation of the arrangements, we would appreciate it if you could inform us of any changes in your address or telefax number. Should you have any further questions, or if you wish to have some special information about Helsinki and its cultural activities in advance, I shall be happy to help. Basic facts can be found in the city’s web pages (http://www.hel.fi). We look forward to seeing you here.