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The University in the spotlight. Call for papers
Wednesday, 12 February 2020 00:00


The quality and transparency of the mechanisms for the selection and promotion of scholars within universities is a subject of fundamental importance and social repercussion.

Culture and Education calls the university community to debate this and other related topics in a special issue.




As the driving force of a knowledge society, the University’s mission is to create, spread, and transfer scientific knowledge. Thus, universities integrate teaching, research, and innovation activities, as well as knowledge transfer activities that generate social value. The human factor, the teaching and research staff, is a cornerstone for the effective fulfillment of this mission.

Spanish universities have developed specific mechanisms for hiring and promoting university staff: public, competitive examinations for new positions, accountability systems to evaluate and certify scholars’ research activity and teaching accomplishments, official recognition and support of consolidated research groups.

All these mechanisms are fundamentally based on the assessment of candidates by peers in higher ranks who evaluate the candidates’ suitability to carry out such activities. These mechanisms are essential for accessing teaching positions, certifying candidates’ aptitude to advance in their academic career and, directly or indirectly, impact on their chances of obtaining funding for research, innovation, and development projects.

Towards the middle of 2019, the Spanish media informed about several cases that called into question the quality and transparency of the mechanisms for the selection and promotion of scholars within universities. The media pointed at cases of favoritism in the form of nepotism or cronyism (Aydogan, 2012), showing a remarkable interference of reasons foreign to the skills and merits of the candidates in the peer-evaluation processes. Simultaneously, cases of plagiarism in publications and doctoral theses were uncovered.

This accumulation of facts and circumstances is undermining the trust of society on Academia.




Below is a list of some of the eligible (but not exclusive) topics, followed by related papers and articles from academic blogs, and/or articles published in Spanish newspapers.

Given the scope of the journal, we are especially interested in works involving Schools and Departments of Education, but proposals coming from other disciplines are also welcome.


Assessment and accountability of academic quality

Seyfried, M. & Florian Reith, F. (2019) The seven deadly sins of quality management: trade-offs and implications for further research, Quality in Higher Education, 25:3, 289-303, DOI: 10.1080/13538322.2019.1683943.


Mechanisms to hire and promote teaching and research staff


Incidence of factors unrelated to the applicants’ academic merits in the selection and promotion processes

Khatri, N., Tsang, E.W., & Begley, T.M. (2006). Cronyism: a cross-cultural analysis. Journal of International Business Studies, 37, 61-75, DOI:

Aydogan, I. (2012). The existence of favoritism in organizations. African Journal of Business Management, 6, 4577-4586, DOI: 10.5897/AJBM11.2692

Inanc, O. & Tuncer, O. (2011) The effect of academic inbreeding on scientific effectiveness. Scientometrics 88, 885–898, DOI:

Mathias W. Nielsen, Limits to meritocracy? Gender in academic recruitment and promotion processes, Science and Public Policy, 43, 386–399, DOI:


Efficacy of mechanisms to support innovation and scientific advancement

Vega-Jurado, J., Kask, S., & Manjarrés-Henriquez, L. (2017). University industry links and product innovation: cooperate or contract? Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 12, 1-8, DOI:

Rasmussen, Einar & Rice, Mark. (2012). A framework for government support mechanisms aimed at enhancing university technology transfer: The Norwegian case. International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 11, 1-25, DOI:

Arechavala Vargas, R. (2011). Las universidades y el desarrollo de la investigación científica y tecnológica en México: Una agenda de investigación. Revista de la Educación Superior, 40, 41-57. Retrieved on 20 January 2020 from


The role of scientific publications in academic promotion

Schimanski, L. A., & Alperin, J. P. (2018). The evaluation of scholarship in academic promotion and tenure processes: Past, present, and future. F1000Research, 7, 1605, DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.16493.1.


The repercussion of plagiarism

Walker, J. (1998) Student Plagiarism in Universities: What are we Doing About it?, Higher Education Research & Development, 17, 89-106, DOI: 10.1080/0729436980170105.


Types of papers admitted


Position papers open to peer debate

An organized and precise presentation of a given perspective on the special issue topic. Ideas presented must be clearly defined, argued, and compared with other perspectives on the same topic.

For the special issue, position papers will be open to peer debate: short pieces critiquing or complementing the focus article. Thus, authors opting for this type of paper are asked to provide a list of scholars that are eligible as discussants. The submitted discussions will also undergo peer-review.

Up to four reactions will be published. The author(s) of the position paper will then be offered the option to reply to these pieces.

Maximum length of the initial paper and all replies: 4500 words.


Research reports

Presentation of empirical studies including a description of the guiding hypotheses, methods used and results obtained, along with a discussion of their implications.

Maximum length: 6500 words


Project descriptions

Descriptions of projects that stand out for their innovative character. Descriptions must specify the principles that motivated the project, its empirical and theoretical background, a detailed account of methodological aspects, and a justification of the hypotheses that guided the design of the project. 

Maximum length: 2500 words.




Submissions are admitted in English or Spanish.

Authors must first send an Abstract of a maximum length of 200 words, clearly indicating the type of paper according to the list above. If approved, author/s will then be requested to send the full text of their manuscript to be sent for peer-review. Corrections or new submissions may be requested during the peer-review process.

The format and style of the paper, including headings, statistics, tables and referencing, must follow the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 7th Edition. Only submissions subject to these guidelines will be considered for review. Please read the journal’s Instructions for Authors carefully before submitting your paper:

Papers must be sent via the journal’s Editorial Manager site: Any queries may be addressed to the journal Editor, Dr. Liliana Tolchinsky, at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

All articles will be published bilingually (English and Spanish), at no cost to the author/s.




Abstract submissions - 200 words: 20 February 2020

Decision about abstract selection: 6 March 2020

Submission of the first draft of full manuscript and start of the peer-review process. Corrections and/or new submissions might be required: 20 June 2020

End of peer review process: 10 December 2020

Date of print publication: June 2021

Accepted paper will be published online by May 2021




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