CRUI, the Conference of Italian University Rectors, is the national association of state and non-state universities that acts as representative body for the university system towards national and local and authorities and stakeholders. In the framework of its activities, CRUI has engaged in a first attempt to identify the practices in use at Italian universities for the internal assessment of their research activities, considering these internal exercises as separate from the national assessment exercises carried out by national agencies. A questionnaire on this topic was submitted to 81 universities in November 2012.The results have provided a first overview of the institutional behaviors existing at university level as far as the internal research assessment practices are concerned. A significant number of universities (more than 70% of respondents) declared that they have set up regular internal assessment exercises, in order to get a clearer picture of their strong and weak points in research performance; in many cases, they identified also the distribution of resources internally as one of the main objectives. Universities provided information on how they manage the process and which tools they use to reach their goals, as well as the type of indicators they use. With reference to the mentioned issues, 37 universities have specific methodological guidelines for the assessment procedure. Nearly the same number of universities (36) declared that they use citation databases (respectively Web of Science, Scopus and other). Among the most used indicators universities have highlighted the number of scientific outputs, the quality of journals where researchers publish and the capacity to attract external resources (i.e. projects, contracts, etc.). A second step will be to investigate further the methodological documents that provide guidance for the internal assessment in each university, as well as to analyze the structure of the bodies in charge of its management, with the objective of identifying the degree of formalization and stability of the internal process and its main characteristics.
Keywords: Assessment, research, university, CRUI