New Public Management, science policy and the orchestration of university research – academic science the loser
In many countries - during the past three decades - there has been increasing alignment of public administration with neoliberal modes of governance driven by processes of globalization and privatization. Key is New Public Management (NPM) as an instrument for applying private sector or market-based techniques to public services. The paper concerns the implications and impact of these developments as they relate to the university sector where we are seeing an influx of bibliometrics to assess performativity with measures that are frequently far from adequate. These changes are related to the broader context of a globalized privatization doctrine of science policy that has gained currency in many countries. The analysis presented here probes and discusses a nexus between NPM, bibliometric performance audits, and a new paradigm in science policy. As such the paper seeks to fill an important gap in science policy studies and the literature on New Public Management more generally. It summarizes various characteristics associated with NPM, and explicates the connection with methods of research evaluation now being introduced in academic institutions. It also takes up varying responses evoked within academe by the use of bibliometrics and current methods of ranking of tertiary educational institutions. Apart from gaining a better understanding of significant changes in the higher educational and research landscapes or disciplines and the interplay of these with broader economic and political trends in society at large, the aim of the paper is also to stimulate discussion and debate on current priorities, perceptions and policies governing knowledge production.