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Research Rating

In its "Empfehlungen zu Rankings im Wissenschaftssystem, Teil 1: Forschung" [Recommendations on Rankings in the Science System, Part 1: Research] of November 2004, the Wissenschaftsrat developed the concept of a novel research rating process to compare and appraise the research performance of all German universities and non-university research institutions jointly funded by the federal and Länder administrations. Following a resolution of the Wissenschaftsrat in July 2005, this process was tested through a pilot study.

The results for the two first exemplary disciplines, chemistry and sociology, considered in the pilot study were published on December 18, 2007 and April 18, 2008, respectively.

At its sessions of May 2008, the Wissenschaftsrat discussed the experiences from the pilot study, and prepared a statement on the future of research rating (German version only). The pilot study showed that the proposed process was feasible for two very different disciplines. It also pointed to possible ways of streamlining the process.

The Wissenschaftsrat decided to further develop the process for research rating and implement the lessons learned from the pilot study by applying them to one discipline from humanities and one from the technological sciences. At the same time, it will keep monitoring the application of the pilot study results and enter into dialog with the addressees from universities and scientific communities.

For the technological sciences, the steering group in charge of research rating chose electrical engineering and information technology. In the course of the pilot study in electrical engeneering and information technology the research performance of 31 universities and 16 non-university institutions was assessed. The results were published on June 15, 2011.

To clarify the prerequisites for a possible transposition of the research rating process to the humanities, the steering group has installed a subcommittee, which has prepared a report on a suitable framework for research rating in the humanities and on appropriate assessment criteria for research in the individual disciplines. Based on the findings from that report, a fourth pilot study dealing with English and American Studies started in March 2011. The results are expected in autumn 2012. Afterwards the Wissenschaftsrat will issue recommendations on the permanent establishment of the research rating.


All other documents are only available in German.

General inquiries should be directed to

Telefon: +49 (0)221 3776-103


Dr. Elke Lütkemeier
E-Mail: luetkemeier(at)
Telefon: + 49 (0)221 3776-274

Dr. Veronika Khlavna
E-Mail: khlavna(at)
Telefon: +49 (0)221 3776-108

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