Special Issue "Research ‘Values’ in the Humanities: Funding Policies, Evaluation and Cultural Resources"


A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Aggregate Prof. Dr. Cinzia Ferrini
Department of Humanities, University of Trieste, Androna Campo Marzio 10, 34125 – Trieste, Italy
Website: http://trieste.academia.edu/CinziaFerrini
Phone: +39 349 3996168
Fax: +39 040 5584439
Interests: classical german philosophy; kant and the empirical sciences; phenomenological reason; hegel’s logic and philosophy of nature; skepticism; ancient metaphysics in the history of modern thought; hegel and antigone

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New-style universities, shaped by the reforms to tertiary education, which have taken place in all Europe during the last decade, have set new targets for the academic humanities.

These changes were initiated to overcome the humanists’ ivory-tower syndrome, counteract the parasitism of some researchers (who are state employees), and force humanities faculties to be better suited for effectiveness in the world. However, such reforms have also raised a widespread “litany of discontents”.

The scientific community is increasingly critical of the “perpetuum mobiles of evaluations” and of the strategies used to allocate available research funds. However, in no other research area is the situation so dramatic as to threaten the very existence of traditional fields of study (i.e., palaeography, theoretical philosophy) as in the humanities.

Against the background of the so-called ‘mass university’ and the consequent selective allocation of state research funds to universities, humanists express concerns about the link between funding and ‘performance’, where performance is misunderstood in terms of evaluating research only in regard to the name of the publisher, the number of citations, the influence of the journal, and whether a publication is international or national. Moreover, papers written by non-Anglophone scholars from institutions outside the Anglophone world have significantly less chance of being accepted. Other areas of concern involve the public sector’s funding orientation that only bigger projects have a great impact factor, undermining the support to individual initiative also in the humanities; the adjustment of the research topics to panelists’ classifications, selection based on the ability to deliver usable results quickly, and the closing of university programmes on the basis of the number of students and exams. These problems are just a few example of numerous complaints.

This Special Issue of Humanities addresses this constellation of problems within the framework of and against the background of Academia Europaea’s mission, focus, and position, in view of the need to overcome complaints, explore new models and forms of research projects and communications, and to reassess and reinforce international standards of quality for the humanistic studies.

Aggregate Prof. Dr. Cinzia Ferrini
Guest Editor


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Armstrong, John. “Reformation and Renaissance: New Life for the Humanities”. Griffith REVIEW, no. 31, Autumn 2011, 6–29.

Brennan, John. “Is There a Future for Higher Education Institutions in the Knowledge Society?” European Review 20, no. 2 (2012): 195–202.

Diversification of Higher Education and the Academic Profession (Papers from the Hercules Symposium, Turin-Italy, 2009), special issue of the European Review, supplement 1, vol. 18, May 2010.

Fortunati, Leopoldina, Svend Erik Larsen, and Julia Stamm. “Introduction to the Focus ‘Knowledge Management in Contemporary Europe’.” European Review 20, no. 2 (2012): 149–52.

Ginsberg, Benjamin. The Fall of the Faculty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Head, Simon. “The Grim Threat to British Universities.” The New York Review of Books, 13 January 2011. https://www.readability.com/articles/n9pjbxmz.

Mathiasen, Helle. “Time to Rethink the Concepts of Knowledge Dissemination and Transfer in the Educational System? A Systems Theoretical Perspective.” European Review 20, no. 2 (2012): 153–63.

Maxwell, N. How Universities Can Help Create a Wiser World: The Urgent Need for an Academic Revolution, 1st ed. Imprint Academic: Exeter, 2014.

Pautasso, Marco, and Cesare Pautasso. “Peer Reviewing Interdisciplinary Papers”. European Review 18, no. 2 (2010): 227–37.

Schekman, Randy. “How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science.” The Guardian, 9 December 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/how-journals-nature-science-cell-damage-science.

Thomas, Keith. “Universities under Attack.” London Review of Books 33, no. 24 (2011): 9–10. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n24/keith-thomas/universities-under-attack.

Watson, Don. “Comment: A New Dusk.” The Monthly (Australia), August 2012. http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2012/august/1345613277/don-watson/comment-new-dusk.

“Mentors, mates or metrics: what are the alternatives to peer review?” EuroScientist, 29 January 2014. http://euroscientist.com/2014/01/mentors-mates-or-metrics-what-are-the-alternatives-to-peer-review/#S0.

“Evaluation: dogma of excellence replaced by scientific diversity.” EuroScientist, 29 January 2014. http://euroscientist.com/2014/01/evaluation-dogma-of-excellence-replaced-by-scientific-diversity/#sthash.mtoMy6WG.dpuf.

Selected works of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mittelstraß, University of Constance:

The Future of the University, European Review 18 (2010), Supplement No. 1 (Diversification of Higher Education and the Academic Profession. Papers from the Hercules Symposium Turin, Italy 2009), 183-189.

Wissenschaftskultur. Zur Vernunft wissenschaftlicher Institutionen / The Culture of Science. On Reason in Scientific Institutions, in: Nova Acta Leopoldina. Abhandlungen der Deutschen Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina NF 113 (2010), 65-77. Ferner (gekürzt) in: Forschung und Lehre 17 (2010), 406-409 (tschech. [gekürzt] unter dem Titel: Věda a nové, Akademický bulletin 2010, Heft 7-8, 8-11).
Über die Nützlichkeit des Geisteswissenschaftlers, in: Was sich nicht sagen läßt. Das Nicht-Begriffliche in Wissenschaft, Kunst und Religion, ed. J. Bromand / G. Kreis, Berlin (Akademie Verlag) 2010, 209-215.

Wissenschaft und Werte. Über die Orientierungsfunktion der Wissenschaft, Frauenarzt 51 (2010), 1066-1070.

Humboldts Licht und Bolognas Schatten auf der Wissensgesellschaft, in: Bildung MACHT Gesellschaft, ed. M. Sandoval u.a., Münster (Verlag Westfälisches Dampfboot) 2011, 51-65.

Vom Nutzen der Philosophie, in: Warum noch Philosophie? Historische, systematische und gesellschaftliche Positionen, ed. M. van Ackeren / Th. Kobusch / J. Müller, Berlin/Boston (Walter de Gruyter) 2011, 251-266.


  • evaluation vs. judgment
  • research values in the humanistic studies
  • funding policies
  • standards of quality in the Humanities

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Displaying article 1-8
p. 42-67
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 42-67; doi:10.3390/h4010042
Received: 3 November 2014 / Revised: 15 December 2014 / Accepted: 18 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 68-79
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 68-79; doi:10.3390/h4010068
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 80-86
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 80-86; doi:10.3390/h4010080
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 28 November 2014 / Accepted: 1 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 87-97
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 87-97; doi:10.3390/h4010087
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 98-108
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 98-108; doi:10.3390/h4010098
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 5 December 2014 / Accepted: 18 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 109-117
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 109-117; doi:10.3390/h4010109
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 118-130
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 118-130; doi:10.3390/h4010118
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
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p. 131-148
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Humanities 2015, 4(1), 131-148; doi:10.3390/h4010131
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 9 January 2015 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 4 February 2015
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Last update: 29 April 2014

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