Universities take an important role in the knowledge-society. For reasons of accountability to the public or in order to assure or enhance research quality, many universities implemented assessment procedures, often using bibliometric and other performance indicators. These procedures are mostly developed in a data-driven manner and not much is known about what the indicators in these procedures actually measure and how they affect behavior. Furthermore, the methods stem from the natural and life sciences and cannot be readily transferred to the social sciences and humanities. In this article, we present (i) quality criteria for research from the perspective of humanities scholars and how they can be transferred to sociology (ii) summarise the opportunities and limitations of the research rating of the German Council of Science and Humanities, and (iii) suggest that sociology as a discipline should develop a discipline-specific approach to research evaluation that takes into account the sociology scholars’ notions of quality and the disciplines’ research practices, that is bottom-up in nature, and uses both quantitative as well as qualitative data.
Keywords: Research Evaluation; Quality Criteria; Sociology; Research Policy; Research Assessment