Over the last year an external evaluation, by over 100 international evaluators, has been assessing the quality of research at Lund. The evaluation is called RQ08. The final report is out now, with several key areas highlighted as being of the highest international standard – good job.
But the evaluators also said that our web pages suck.
I blogged about this subject (with pretty much the same conclusion) a month ago, where I discussed my own review of our research pages. The main conclusion of the RQ08 report says:
“…the absence of a comprehensive English web presence robbed many of the panels of a facility that they would normally expect to exploit in an assessment such as they have just undertaken…”
So, the research evaluation itself may have been made more difficult, or even affected, by the lack of good web pages.
Here are some of their comments, the page references are to the entire report.
“On the basis of information provided on the School’s web pages, it seems like if (sic) the research activities at Campus Helsingborg would not be very extensive.”
“I had particular difficulties navigating the departmental web-site. This is somewhat unevenly organised.”
“The Panel has tried to obtain some information through the DCE web-site. It has helped significantly, yet it did not provide the full picture of the research organizational structure…it did not give information concerning full dimension of such (ongoing) projects and further introduced a few elements of difficulty since some projects are repeated in different areas.”
“We believe that much of this information can be made available with no or little pain to the faculty people, by properly populating a Web information system that we think the university anyway lacks.”
The evaluators had a strong motivation to try and find information, I seriously doubt that many of our visitors would make the same effort.
So what now? Well, as I suggested in my review of the research pages we really need to understand what tasks users of the research pages are trying to do. We also need to figure out the best metrics to measure the performance of any changes we make. Watch this space.
Please comment on this – what problems have you encountered on our research pages? What could be better?