[RRI Good Practice] Enhancing Research Culture in Higher Education in Kosovo*

What is the good practice about?

Through developing, coordinating and implementing the EU/Erasmus + funded project “Enhancing Research Culture in Higher Education in Kosovo (ResearchCult: https://researchcult.net/), important R&I development measures were supported during 2019-2023 (42 months), related to key Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) areas, such as:

  • Ethics (in R&I) o Development of national guidelines, university regulations and establishing university committees for research ethics and integrity; o Supporting universities with plagiarism check software access;
  • Science Education o Training of researchers (100 early career researchers) for preparing scientific papers and their international publications; o Support organization of joint annual international scientific conference;
  • Open Access, Open Science, Open Data o Support the development of Kosovo Research Information System (KRIS) for researchers, research institutions, open research infrastructure, research projects, and access to research publications; o Support establishment of open access scientific journals (6) based on international standards for journals;
  • RRI Governance o Supporting universities to establish research support offices and develop university research strategic plans;

Why is this initiative needed?

The ResearchCult project responded to longer term posed gaps and challenges in the higher education and research sector in Kosovo. First, universities in Kosovo perform weakly in the second university pillar, research, facing lack of university research support structures and measures to support research and academic staff and their research initiatives. In this regard, the project intervened in establishing university Research Support Offices, nomination and training of coordinators, as well as supporting development of university strategic plans, based on university needs. Second, researchers in universities and research institutes lack the systematic support for their research work, in the direction of capacities for research excellence, guidance in research ethics, support with funding opportunities, as well as support with the promotion of their research work locally and internationally. Thus, the project supported measures to create possibilities to promote the work of researchers (KRIS, open access journals, scientific conference), as well as to get systematic support in university financing instruments for research projects and initiatives (research offices, strategic research plans, training for writing scientific papers, publication of research work, and so on).

Third, Kosovo’s Government lacked systematic data collection in research outputs and outcomes (related to research institutions, researchers, publications, research infrastructure, research funding, projects, etc.), therefore being reluctant to support better evidence based policy measures in R&I in Kosovo. The several progress reports in this regard published for several years emphasized the gap in information, data and statistics for R&I in Kosovo. In addition, the Government did not have a framework to guide standards for research ethics and integrity, for scientific journals as open access, as well as for research infrastructure. The project provided a direct input supporting the Government enhance a better R&I framework, through developing and functionalizing KRIS, and developing national standards for research ethics, and for open access scientific journals and peer reviewed publications. Finally, industrial actors have lack of research evidence coming out of socio-economic context in Kosovo, therefore being more reluctant to develop and enhance business and industrial practices. Having access to KRIS free data, will stimulate more evidence-based business practices, as well as expectations are in longer run to stimulate research/academia – industry collaboration in joint research initiatives and co-publications.

What are the main objectives?

According to the project plan there are several objectives and expected results for the project:

  1.  Assessing current state of research capacities in Kosovo higher education sector.
  2. Increasing research stimulation and support by establishing university offices/centers and their strategic plans to support constant research activities among their institutions.
  3. Enhancing university strategy for publication of scientific research work through developing and approving internationally recognized standards for scientific journals, as well as establishing.
  4. Promoting research work through annual research joint conference.
  5. Improving research quality and standards by developing research ethics and integrity regulation and establishing research ethics committees in higher education institutions.
  6. Facilitating regular access to research publication and establishing an online open access platform/database for accumulating research knowledge.
  7. Increasing research publication opportunities through building capacities among researchers in preparing research articles as per international criteria and requirements for publication of research work

What are the main activities?

In relation to the above mentioned objectives, a series of results are expected:

  1. An assessment report published in outlining research situation in Kosovo.
  2. Seven (7) research offices will be established, one per each university partner (except UP which already established it). The respective universities will nominate at least one research coordinator per each research office. Seven (7) strategic plans will be developed, one per each university (except UP who has already established it).
  3. Establishment of six (6) scientific journals, one per a research priority in Kosovo (a. Environment, Energy and Natural Resources; b. Agricultural Production and Food Safety; c. Medical Research; d. Development of a Knowledge Based Society; e. Linguistic, Historic and Cultural Studies; and f. Information and Communication Technologies). Establishment of six (6) interinstitutional Scientific Committees, one per each scientific journal. Establishment and update of a register of reviewers (international reviewers, also local reviewers with established international scientific reputation).
  4. Establishing an inter-institutional Organizational Committee for the Annual Scientific Conference; Organization of at least one conference during project life in six scientific sessions, with participation of around 200 researchers, and at least 100 selected research presentations in all scientific sections; Minimum 60 papers fulfilling standards selected for publication into the scientific journals.
  5. Policy/regulation on research ethics and integrity adapted in each beneficiary university (eight policies/regulations). At least eight (8) Research Ethics Committees established and made functional, one per each beneficiary institution (respective universities may establish such committees at faculty levels).
  6. An online open access database will be developed and launched; The database updated with research knowledge from the established journals, as well as other research papers meeting the defined research standards. Around 100 researchers (particularly young and unexperienced), minimum 10 researchers per beneficiary partner will be trained on preparation research articles by meeting criteria of internationally indexed journals.

Who is involved?

The governmental and university actors such as the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as public universities in Kosovo (all project partners) have been consulted and involved in designing and defining the project scope and measures. Meetings and workshops took place in the project preparation phase, as well as key governmental, university and other related policy documents and studies/reports were consulted to guide the project design, and identification of project strategic interventions at national, university and individual level. The selected good practices from the ResearchCult project, introduced here, can be easily and strategically adapted to other countries, particularly in the Western Balkan countries, with similar developmental landscape in R&I. In order to ensure strategic and stable instalment of the practices, a project support framework could be adapted, with 2-3 year timeline, in order to replicate the practice in other countries contexts.

The impacted project stakeholders include the Government of Kosovo, higher education and research institutions, researchers and academics, students, and industry. Governmental actors (Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation; Kosova Agency of Statistics, Kosova Accreditation Agency, and other institutions) will be greatly impacted by having updated information in research performance indicators, as well as scientific research results conducted in Kosovo, collected and generated through KRIS, for informing strategic policy making as well as monitoring and evaluating the implementation of R&I policies. Universities have been impacted through having mechanisms and instruments in place for supporting university research advancement measures, research ethics and integrity practices, possibility to publish in open access journals, and being promoted locally and internationally in research work through being part of joint international scientific conference and updating their research profile in KRIS in key performance research indicators. Researchers and academics have been impacted through having enhanced support in defined measures in research plans, research support offices, research ethics support and research work promotion through updating their research profiles and work in KRIS, presenting their work in conference as well as publishing in the open access journals. Industry will benefit by having free access to scientific research results coming out through research work taking place in the Kosovo, regional and international context in the areas of interest to industrial actors.

Can this good practice be replicated?

All developed and publicly available information and documentation for the project/practice are available on the project website: https://researchcult.net/ Nevertheless, in case more specific documentation is needed which is not yet publicly available, it could be shared at a later stage, when they are fully developed. Although not all measures of the ResearchCult project were introduced in this application, based on the ResearchCut practice, in the introduced measures here the costs of development/adaption and implementation of such measures might need 0.6-0.7 million Euros to implement. It however depends on the number of beneficiary institutions that may be involved in respective country contexts where such practices could take place.

Relevant RRI keys: Ethics (in R&I), Science Education, Open Access, Open Science, Open Data, RRI Governance

Type of practice: Dedicated plan, strategy document (e.g. Gender Equality Plan, Open Access Strategy, etc.), Websites serving as platform for services to clients, Promotion of partnering opportunities, Strategic & action planning, Good governance, Organisation of training, webinars, Organisation of conferences, panels, round-tables, Peer learning/mentoring, Establishment of new decision-making structures or boards (e.g., related to ethics, discrimination, etc.), Support services (e.g. for internationalisation, innovation support, research support)

Target groups: researchers (starting from PhD-candidates, on the individual level), universities, research performing organisations, research and innovation funding organisations, research administration, Governmental institutions responsible for R&I


Kosovo* (This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.)

Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by POLICY ANSWERS Project support on January 11, 2023
Modified on January 11, 2023